NYC Curb-To-Market challenge launches with $500,000 Prize

Manufacturing entrepreneur Chris Graff has announced the official launch of the NYC Curb-To-Market Challenge (CTMC), a contest offering a $500,000 prize for the best idea and business plan to repurpose New York City’s recyclable waste and locally manufacture a product to sell in the New York City market.
Christine Becker,
Christine Becker,

The winning entry will demonstrate the most efficient, sustainable and environmentally aware way to implement the entire process of sourcing and converting the recycled waste for use, manufacture a product locally in New York City, and sell the product to the largest potential market. The winning business plan will receive a $500,000 prize, split between a $100,000 cash prize and a $400,000 equity investment in the associated startup. The winning team or individual will also receive involved advising from CTMC founder Chris Graff, as well as access to a network of advisors and angel investors.

“As a manufacturing guy, I see opportunity everywhere I look,” says Chris Graff, founder of the NYC Curb-To-Market Challenge. “In New York, we have tons of raw material, tons of manufacturing space and tons of hardworking, talented people. Putting all of those things together is a winning combination, and that’s where I hope we’re headed. Manufacturing drives innovation more than any other sector in the US, and I’m certain there’s a brilliant idea out there to help us strive toward a more circular economy.”

The application period opened on February 1 and will remain open through June 1, accepting proposals from applicants from New York City and beyond. A panel of judges will select finalists for in-person pitches. These finalists will be flown to New York City during the final two weeks of June to present in front of the judging panel. The winning business plan will be announced on July 1.

The CTMC judging panel is made up of leaders with diverse backgrounds in the manufacturing, recycling and New York City regulatory spaces. Judges include:

  • Chris Graff, founder of the CTMC and successful manufacturing entrepreneur
  • Bridget Anderson, Deputy Commissioner for Recycling and Sustainability at the New York City Sanitation Department
  • Steve Brenneman, founder of the industry-leading Aluminum Trailer Company (ATC Trailers)
  • Tim Morrison, former CEO and Chairman of AERT, one of the largest plastic recyclers in North America
  • David Smucker, Assistant Vice President at the New York City Economic Development Corporation
  • Gina Lee, Founder of Circular CoLab and Author of The State of the Circular Economy in America

“The NYC Curb-To-Market Challenge comes at a critical moment as New York City drives towards a more circular, zero-waste future,” says Bridget Anderson, Deputy Commissioner for Recycling and Sustainability at the New York City Sanitation Department. “In NYC, we have many recyclable materials that have not been effectively leveraged in the regional marketplace. The CTMC will help address this inefficiency while creating jobs for hard-working New Yorkers. DSNY is proud to lend our support to the CTMC.”

The NYC Curb-To-Market Challenge website ( provides prospective applicants with basic resources to help them build out their business plans, including an overview of the recycling landscape in New York City, an example of a successful company in this space and a detailed list of resource streams available in the city.

The NYC CTMC has official partnerships with Circular City Week, an open collaborative festival for circular-economy-related events hosted by the Danish Cleantech Hub from March 4 to March 10 in New York City; Talk Trash City, a 501(c)3 pitch competition that awards seed funds to waste-focused startups; and MakerSpace NYC, a non-profit community workspace that provides members with access to advanced manufacturing, digital technologies and industrial fabrication tools and equipment through state-of-the-art facilities in Staten Island and Brooklyn.

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