Plastics challenge: E-waste

From: Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

Shared Services Canada (SSC) and Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) are seeking a solution that will enable recycling of e-waste plastics and metals in Canada while respecting domestic and international requirements and obligations.

Challenge sponsor: Shared Services Canada (SSC)

Funding mechanism: Contract

Opening date: February 12, 2020
Closing date: May 26, 2020 14:00 Eastern Daylight Time

Please refer to the tender notice for this challenge on Buy and Sell.

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Challenge

Problem statement

This challenge is highly relevant to SSC and ECCC's mandate and the federal government's commitment to move Canada towards a zero plastic waste economy. Plastics are valuable materials and resources because of their unrivalled functionality, durability, and low cost. Plastics are used in almost every aspect of Canadians’ daily lives and provide significant economic, environmental and social benefits.

SSC purchases IT equipment such as laptops, monitors, phones etc. on behalf of 43 government departments. There are a variety of options for the disposal of surplus IT equipment in the Government of Canada, however there are challenges to ensure that all components of e-waste are properly and safely disposed of after they are collected and dismantled. While there is a focus on finding options to reuse electronic equipment, not all surplus electronic materials are suitable for reuse leaving some to be recycled. With the impending closure of hundreds of legacy Data Centres across the country, there will be a large quantity of recyclable e-waste from those facilities over the next 5 years. E-waste including items such as electric wires, cables, laptops, tablets, cell phones, batteries, hard drives, contain both plastic and metal components i.e, cobalt, lead, mercury, cadmium, brominated flame retardants, perfluorinated compounds (PFCs), and phthalates, which have potential to cause both harm to the environment and human health in the long term. Recycling this e-waste in an environmentally sustainable manner is a pressing, short-term challenge for SSC. That said, reducing e-waste plastics is also a long-term strategic consideration for SSC. Given SSC’s role as the leading electronics procurer for the Government of Canada and the Government of Canada’s broader Zero Plastic Waste Agenda, there are growing procurement opportunities for companies that design products that minimize or eliminate end-of-life plastic and metal waste.

E-Waste recyclers in Canada currently lack the technologies to decontaminate plastics removed from e-waste at the dismantling stage. Such technologies would divert e-waste plastics from landfills without exporting and recycling it outside of Canada. These technologies would also enable the conversion of e-waste plastics into valuable materials or molecules.

Please note that proposed innovations must respect all relevant federal, provincial, and municipal environmental regulations such as the Prohibition of Certain Toxic Substances Regulations, 2012 under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act.

Desired outcomes and considerations

Essential (mandatory) outcomes

The proposed solution must:

  1. Be a functional, scalable, cost-effective, and energy efficient solution to e-waste plastics;
  2. Be informed by science, be evidence-based and consider environmental, social, and economic impacts;
  3. Describe the proposed technology and/or business-model and how it compares with existing management operations/activities for e-waste plastics, and explain its benefits and drawbacks throughout the entire life-cycle (i.e., from input, production, use, recovery/recycle, and final waste disposal);
  4. Ensure that chemicals of concern i.e. cobalt, lead, mercury, cadmium, brominated flame retardants, perfluorinated compounds (PFCs), phthalates, and acids are properly managed and are not released into the environment or do not result in human health exposure;
  5. Decontaminate plastics removed from e-waste at the dismantling stage;
  6. Enable the conversion of decontaminated e-waste plastics into valuable materials or molecules; 
  7. Divert e-waste plastics from landfills without exporting and recycling it outside of Canada;
  8. Have no adverse environmental impacts.

Additional Outcomes

The proposed solution should:

  1. Be a functional, scalable, cost-effective, and energy efficient solution to e-waste metals and heavy metals;
  2. Demonstrate improved value-recovery for e-waste metals and heavy metals; 
  3. Enable the recycling and/or processing of rare earth elements (such as magnets in hard drives and mobile device screens) recovered from e-waste after being decoupled from the plastic components;
  4. Demonstrate improved potential for repair, refurbishment, and remanufacturing of e-waste plastics and/or metals;
  5. Meet or exceed the requirements for the Greening Government Strategy, which looks to reduce the environmental impact of waste associated with the chemicals and metals found in electrical and electronic equipment products used by the Government of Canada. 

Background and Context

Overall, waste from electrical and electronic equipment (or e-waste), including items such as electric wire, cables, and other plastic components and/or parts, represented 7% of plastic waste generated in Canada in 2016. In addition, e-waste plastics often contain toxic substances such as brominated flame retardants, perfluorinated compounds (PFCs), and phthalates, which have potential to cause both harm to the environment and human health in the long term. The presence of these chemicals can make the recycling of these materials very difficult or may even be prohibited under domestic regulations in some cases.

Although a number of regulated and/or voluntary programs (i.e. Extended Producer Responsibility - EPR), led by provincial and territorial governments, as well as industry, are in place to address e-waste across Canada, they do not cover all e-waste generated in Canada. Currently, the Government of Canada must follow the Electronic Recycling Standard, which ensures e-waste is appropriately recycled, and focuses on safety, security of product, and appropriate downstream disposition of materials handled. The feasibility to properly recycle e-waste is also highly dependent upon physical location. SSC has recently undertaken an initiative to assist other federal departments in remote locations to safely remove e-waste from their facilities and offices. The pilot project in Iqaluit, Nunavut in 2019 resulted in 3,500kg of e-waste being recycled and diverted from Canadian landfills. 

The Government of Canada has committed to reducing plastic waste and pollution both within Canada and around the world. At the 2018 G7 in Charlevoix, Quebec, Canada launched the Ocean Plastics Charter. This Charter, which has now been endorsed by 25 governments as well as over 60 businesses and organizations worldwide, sets targets and outlines actions to eradicate plastic waste and marine litter. The Government of Canada is also working with provinces and territories through the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME) who have launched a Canada-wide Strategy for Zero Plastic Waste and adopted the first phase of an Action Plan to drive concrete actions across the country.

This challenge will support domestic action and innovation on plastics. This challenge also relates directly to the Treasury Board Secretariat (TBS) Greening Government Strategy, which looks to reduce the environmental impact of waste associated with harmful and hazardous chemicals used and disposed of by the Government of Canada. In October 2009, the CCME released the Canada-Wide Action Plan for Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR). This Canada-wide action plan seeks to shift full life-cycle costs of a product to the product’s producers. Electronics and electrical products were included within the first phase of this action plan. The CCME continues to work to harmonize and expand existing EPR programs in Canada for e-waste. 

Maximum contract value

Multiple contracts could result from this Challenge.

The maximum funding available for any Phase 1 contract resulting from this Challenge is $150,000.00 CAD excluding applicable taxes, shipping, travel and living expenses, as required, for up to 6 months (excluding submission of the final report).

Estimated number of Phase 1 contracts: 2

The maximum funding available for any Phase 2 contract resulting from this Challenge is $1,000,000.00 CAD excluding applicable taxes, shipping, travel and living expenses, as required, for up to 24 months (excluding submission of the final report). Only eligible businesses that have successfully completed Phase 1 will be considered for Phase 2.

Estimated number of Phase 2 contracts: 1

This disclosure is made in good faith and does not commit Canada to contract for the total approximate funding. Final decisions on the number of Phase 1 and Phase 2 awards will be made by Canada on the basis of factors such as evaluation results, departmental priorities and availability of funds.

Travel :

No travel is anticipated

Eligibility

Solution proposals can only be submitted by a small business that meets all of the following criteria:

  • for profit
  • incorporated in Canada (federally or provincially)
  • 499 or fewer full-time equivalent (FTE) employeesFootnote *
  • research and development activities that take place in Canada
  • 50% or more of its annual wages, salaries and fees are currently paid to employees and contractors who spend the majority of their time working in CanadaFootnote *
  • 50% or more of its FTE employees have Canada as their ordinary place of workFootnote *
  • 50% or more of its senior executives (Vice President and above) have Canada as their principal residenceFootnote *

Evaluation Criteria

The official source of the Evaluation Criteria for this challenge is the Government Electronic Tendering System (Buy and Sell) (https://buyandsell.gc.ca/procurement-data/tender-notice/PW-20-00899125)

In the event of a discrepancy between the information below and the information published on Buy and Sell, Buy and Sell will take precedence.

The Bidder must complete the Challenge Stream Electronic Submission Form with a degree of information sufficient to enable Canada’s assessment of the proposal against the criteria and the Evaluation Schema. The information must demonstrate how the proposal meets the criterion.

Part 1: Mandatory Criteria

Proposals must meet all mandatory criteria identified by achieving a “Pass” in order to proceed to Part 2. Proposals that do not meet all mandatory criteria will be deemed non-responsive and given no further consideration.

Mandatory Criteria

(Bidder’s proposal must address)

Question 1 a: Scope

Describe the proposed solution and demonstrate how it responds to the challenge. Include in your description the scientific and technological basis upon which the solution is proposed and clearly demonstrate how the solution meets all of the Essential Outcomes (if identified) in the Desired Outcomes section in the Challenge Notice.

Evaluation Schema (Mandatory - Pass/Fail)

Pass

The Bidder’s proposed solution is clearly articulated, within the scope for the challenge and addresses all Essential Outcomes (if identified) in the Challenge Notice.

Fail

The proposed solution is articulated as out of scope for the challenge.
OR
The proposal does not clearly demonstrate how the proposed solution addresses all Essential Outcomes listed in the challenge.
OR
The proposed solution is poorly described and does not permit concrete analysis.
OR
There is little to no scientific and/or technological evidence that the proposed solution is likely to meet the challenge.

Question 2: Current Technology Readiness Level (TRL)
  1. Indicate the current TRL of the proposed solution. (Drop Down Menu of the Challenge Stream Electronic Submission Form)
  2. Describe the research and development activities that have taken place to bring the proposed solution to the stated TRL.
Evaluation Schema (Mandatory - Pass/Fail)

Pass

The Bidder has demonstrated that the proposed solution is currently between TRLs 1 and 6 (inclusive), and provided justification by explaining the research and development (R&D) that has taken place to bring the solution to the stated TRL.

Fail

The Bidder has not provided sufficient evidence to demonstrate that the current TRL is between 1 to 6 (inclusive) including:

  1. There is insufficient/no evidence provided for TRL judgment.
  2. The solution involves the development of basic or fundamental research.
  3. The solution is demonstrated at TRL 7 or higher.
  4. Insufficient/unclear/no justification explaining the R&D that took place to bring the solution to the stated TRL.
  5. The explanation simply paraphrases the description of a given TRL level.
Question 3a: Innovation

Demonstrate how the proposed solution meets one or more of the ISC definitions of innovation below:

  1. An invention*, new technology or new process that is not currently available in the marketplace.
  2. Significant modifications to the application of existing technologies/components/processes that are applied in a setting or condition for which current applications are not possible or feasible.
  3. An improvement in functionality, cost or performance over an existing technology/process that is considered state-of-the-art or the current industry best practice.

* An “invention” is defined for the purposes of ISC as: “A manufacturing design or any other new and useful improvement that is new or novel, that is, not commonly known or not an obvious derivative of an existing way of doing things.”

Evaluation Schema (Mandatory - Pass/Fail)

Pass

The Bidder has demonstrated that the proposed solution meets one or more of the ISC definitions of innovation.

Fail

The Bidder has not provided sufficient evidence to demonstrate that the current TRL is between 1 to 6 (inclusive) including:

  • Bidder has not provided sufficient evidence to demonstrate that the proposed solution meets any of the ISC definitions of innovation; OR
  • Bidder has demonstrated that the proposed solution is an incremental improvement, “good engineering”, or a technology that would go ahead in the normal course of product development (i.e. the next version or release).
Question 3b: Advance on State of the Art

Describe in detail the competitive advantages and level of advancement over existing technologies. Where appropriate, name existing technologies as well as potential substitutes or competitors.

To demonstrate this, proposals should include the following information:

  • Improvements (minor or major) over existing technologies or substitutes. Use direct comparison.
  • How the proposed innovation will create competitive advantages in existing market niches or market spaces.
Evaluation Schema (Mandatory Criteria – Pass/Fail + Points)

0 points/Fail:

  • The Bidder has not demonstrated that the proposed solution advances the state-of-the-art over existing technologies, including available competing solutions; OR
  • The proposed solution improves minimally upon the current state of the art, though not sufficiently enough to create competitive advantages in existing market niches; OR
  • The stated advancements are described in general terms but are not substantiated with specific, measurable evidence.

5 points/Pass:

  • The Bidder has demonstrated that the proposed solution offers one or two minor improvements to existing technologies, including available competing solutions that have potential to create competitive advantages in existing market niches.

12 points/Pass

  • The Bidder has demonstrated that the proposed solution offers three or more minor improvements to existing technologies, including available competing solutions, that together are likely to create competitive advantages in existing market niches; OR
  • The Bidder has demonstrated that the proposed solution offers one significant improvement to existing technologies that is likely to create competitive advantages in existing market niches

20 points/Pass:

  • The Bidder has demonstrated that the proposed solution offers two or more significant improvements to existing technologies, including available competing solutions that are likely to create competitive advantages in existing market niches and could define new market spaces; OR
  • The Bidder has demonstrated that the proposed solution can be considered a new benchmark of state of the art that is clearly ahead of competitors and that is likely to define new market spaces

Part 2: Point-Rated Criteria

Proposals must meet the overall minimum pass mark of 50% to be deemed responsive. Proposals that do not achieve the minimum pass mark will be declared non-responsive and given no further consideration.

Point-Rated Criteria

(Bidder’s proposal to address)

Question 1b: Scope

Demonstrate the scientific and technological basis of how the proposed solution addresses the Additional Outcomes (if identified) in the Desired Outcomes section in the Challenge Notice. If no Additional Outcomes are identified in the Challenge Notice, text entered in this section will not be considered.

If no Additional Outcomes are identified in the Challenge Notice, Bidders will receive 10 points.

Evaluation Schema (Point-Rated)
  1. Insufficient or no information provided to demonstrate that the solution will address any of the Additional Outcomes. 0 points
  2. Information provided clearly demonstrates that the solution will address some (<50%) of the Additional Outcomes. 3 points
  3. Information provided clearly demonstrates that the solution will address most (50% or more) of the Additional Outcomes. 6 points
  4. Information provided clearly demonstrates that the solution will address all (100%) of the Additional Outcomes. 10 points
Question 4: Phase 1 Science and Technology (S&T) Risks

Describe potential scientific and/or technological risks to the successful development of the proof of feasibility and how they will be mitigated in Phase 1.

Evaluation Schema (Point-Rated)
  1. Insufficient or no information provided to demonstrate that the Bidder has considered potential risks and mitigation strategies and/or information provided contains significant gaps. 0 points
  2. Information provided demonstrates that the Bidder has considered some potential risks and associated mitigation strategies but there are minor gaps in risks and/or associated mitigation strategies. 5 points
  3. Information provided clearly demonstrates that the Bidder has sufficiently considered the risks and defined associated mitigation strategies. 10 points
Question 5: Phase 1 Project Plan

Demonstrate a feasible Phase 1 project plan by completing the table.

  • Indicate if any milestones and activities will be completed concurrently
  • Indicate the estimated exit TRL at the completion of Phase 1. (Drop Down Menu of the Challenge Stream Electronic Submission Form)
Evaluation Schema (Point-Rated)
  1. Insufficient or no information provided to demonstrate a feasible project plan for Phase 1 and/or the project plan exceeds the maximum duration indicated in the Challenge Notice. 0 points
  2. Project plan for Phase 1 is conceivably feasible but not clearly demonstrated and/or includes gaps. 10 points
  3. Information provided clearly demonstrates a feasible project plan for Phase 1. 20 points
Question 6: Phase 1 Project Risks

Describe potential project risks to the successful development of the proof of feasibility and how they will be mitigated in Phase 1.

Bidders should address the following risks, as applicable:

  • Human Resources
  • Financial
  • Project Management
  • Intellectual Property
  • Other project-related risks

Note to Bidders: S&T risks should not be included in this section. Question 4 addresses S&T risks.

Evaluation Schema (Point-Rated)
  1. Insufficient or no information provided to demonstrate that the Bidder has considered potential risks and mitigation strategies and/or information provided contains significant gaps. 0 points
  2. Information provided demonstrates that the Bidder has considered some potential risks and associated mitigation strategies but there are minor gaps in risks and/or associated mitigation strategies. 5 points
  3. Information provided clearly demonstrates that the Bidder has sufficiently considered the risks and defined associated mitigation strategies. 10 points
Question 7: Phase 1 Implementation Team

Demonstrate how the project implementation team has the required management and technological skill sets and experience to deliver the project plan for Phase 1 by completing the table. A member of the implementation team can have more than one role.

Evaluation Schema (Point-Rated)
  1. Insufficient or no information provided to demonstrate that the project team has the required management and technological skill sets and experience to deliver the Phase 1 project plan. 0 points
  2. Information is provided but there are minor gaps in required management and/or technological skill sets and/or experience to deliver the Phase 1 project plan. 10 points
  3. Information provided clearly demonstrates that the project team has the required management and technological skill sets and experience to deliver the Phase 1 project plan. 20 points
Question 8: Inclusivity

If your business were to receive funding from Innovative Solutions Canada, describe what actions (e.g., recruitment strategy, internships, co-op placements, etc.) might be taken in Phase 1 to support the participation of under-represented groups (e.g., women, youth, persons with disabilities, Indigenous people, visible minorities) in the research and development of the proposed solution. Each Bidder in their response to this question must focus only on describing relevant programs, policies, or initiatives that it currently has in place or would put in place to support the R&D effort in Phase 1.

Note: Do not provide any personal information of individuals employed by your company or that of your subcontractors in the response.

Evaluation Schema (Point-Rated)
  1. No description and/or concrete examples of actions provided that would be taken to encourage greater participation of under-represented groups. 0 points
  2. A description and concrete examples of actions to encourage greater participation of under-represented groups provided. 5 points
Question 9: Phase 1 Financial Proposal

Demonstrate a realistic financial proposal for the Phase 1 project plan by completing the table.

Evaluation Schema (Point-Rated)
  1. Insufficient information provided and/or information provided significantly lack credibility. Does not demonstrate a realistic financial proposal for the Phase 1 project plan. 0 points
  2. Information is provided but some costs lack credibility and/or are unclear for the Phase 1 project plan. 7.5 points
  3. Information provided contains credible elements to clearly demonstrate a realistic financial proposal for the Phase 1 project plan. 15 points
Question 10: Phase 1 Financial Controls, Tracking and Oversight

Describe the financial controls, tracking and oversight that will be used to manage the public funds throughout Phase 1. Bidders should indicate if an individual or firm will be managing the public funds and provide their credentials and/or relevant experience.

Evaluation Schema (Point-Rated)
  1. Insufficient or no information provided to demonstrate the Bidder’s ability to manage public funds in Phase 1. 0 points
  2. Information provided is vague and/or contains gaps. The Bidder has some controls, tracking and/or oversight in place to manage the public funds in Phase 1. 5 points
  3. Information provided clearly demonstrates that the Bidder has strong financial controls, tracking and oversight to manage public funds in Phase 1. 10 points
Question 11: Phase 2 Overview

Demonstrate a realistic overview for the prototype development plan if selected to participate in Phase 2.

Responses should include:

  • key tasks
  • estimated cost for materials
  • human resources
  • project risks and mitigation strategies

Note: A more detailed proposal will be requested if selected to participate in Phase 2.

Evaluation Schema (Point-Rated)
  1. Insufficient or no information provided to demonstrate that the Bidder has contemplated a realistic overview for the Phase 2 prototype development. 0 points
  2. Information provided demonstrates a conceivably realistic overview for Phase 2 prototype development, however there are gaps and/or the strategy is vague. 6 points
  3. Information provided demonstrates that the Bidder has a clear and realistic overview. 12 points
Question 12: Commercialization Approach

Demonstrate a realistic overall commercialization approach/business model that can successfully take the technology/service to market, and how the technology/service will help you develop and sell other products.

Responses should include:

  • Target markets (excluding Government of Canada)
  • Non-ISC funding sources
  • Transition to a commercially-ready product or service
  • Any other indicators of commercial potential and commercial feasibility

Note: A more detailed proposal will be requested if selected to participate in Phase 2 or the Testing Stream.

Evaluation Schema (Point-Rated)
  1. Insufficient or no information provided to demonstrate that the proposed solution has commercial potential. 0 points
  2. Some information provided to demonstrate that the proposed solution has commercial potential, however there are gaps in the commercialization approach. 6 points
  3. A realistic commercialization approach is provided that demonstrates that the proposed solution has commercial potential. 12 points
Question 13: Resulting Benefits to Canada

Describe the benefits that could result from the commercialization of the proposed solution. Bidders should consider the potential benefits using the following three categories and provide justification for each claim:

  1. Innovation Benefits: Expected contribution towards the enhancement or development of new industrial or technological innovations within your firm. Responses could include: potential spillover benefits, creation of intellectual property, impact on productivity of the new technology, etc.
  2. Economic Benefits: Forecasted impact on the growth of Canadian firms, clusters and supply chains, as well as its expected benefits for Canada's workforce. Responses could include: number of jobs created, number of high-paying jobs, investment in Canada’s economy, etc.
  3. Public Benefits: Expected contribution to the broader public to the degree that the solution is expected to generate social, environmental, health, security or other benefits to Canada. Responses could include: solution-related environmental benefits, solution-related accessibility benefits, and solution-related impact on Indigenous communities.
Evaluation Schema (Point-Rated)
  1. Innovation Benefits
    Benefit not identified or insufficient claim of benefit. 0 points
    Benefit has marginal increment or limited justification. 1 point
    Benefit is significant and well justified. 2 points
  2. Economic Benefits
    Benefit not identified or insufficient claim of benefit. 0 points
    Benefit has marginal increment or limited justification. 1 point
    Benefit is significant and well justified. 2 points
  3. Public Benefits
    Benefit not identified or insufficient claim of benefit. 0 points
    Benefit has marginal increment or limited justification. 1 point
    Benefit is significant and well justified. 2 points

Questions and answers

Please refer to the tender notice for this challenge on Buy and Sell.

All incoming questions regarding this specific challenge should be addressed to SIC-ISC@pwgsc.gc.ca

You can also consult the Frequently asked questions about the Innovative Solutions Canada Program.

glossary is also available.

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