USAID and Partners NASA, Nike, Department of State Announce Launch: Beyond Waste Innovators

For Immediate Release

Thursday, July 12, 2012
Public Information

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and fellow founding partners NASA, the U.S. Department of State, and NIKE, Inc. announced today the nine innovators selected to participate in their LAUNCH: Beyond Waste challenge. LAUNCH is a unique program that aims to identify and accelerate solutions to the world's most urgent sustainability challenges. The current program cycle is focused on waste, and the finalists were chosen for their groundbreaking technologies and programs that address a broad range of waste issues, including waste-to-energy, agricultural waste and conservation, medical waste, sustainable chemicals and materials, and improved sanitation.       

The LAUNCH program identifies innovations poised to create transformational change in critical sustainability issues, connects LAUNCH innovators to thought leaders and advisors, and then provides resources and guidance to accelerate the implementation of the technologies, businesses, and programs. The LAUNCH: Beyond Waste Forum, which brings together LAUNCH innovators and LAUNCH Council members, will take place at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA from July 20-22. 

"Waste is one of the largest hidden challenges facing many developing countries—one that is rarely discussed but that is having an outsized impact on people's daily lives," said Dr. Alex Dehgan, Science and Technology Adviser to the Administrator at USAID. "Innovative solutions, businesses, and programs that fundamentally reimagine and transform waste into opportunity are desperately needed. USAID is excited to continue to play a central role in LAUNCH so that we can support the entrepreneurial efforts best positioned to transform global approaches to waste."

The LAUNCH innovator organizations, their country of origin or operation, the individuals representing them, and their innovations are listed below.

  1. Attero Recycling (India): Nitin Gupta - India’s leading provider of “end-to-end” electronic and electrical goods e-Waste management services.
  2. Goonj (India): Anshu Goonj – A grassroots Indian non-governmental organization focused on transforming and revaluing clothing and textiles waste by working on these issues directly at the community level.
  3. Kiverdi (US): Lisa Dyson – Provider of a bioprocess that recycles waste carbon into sustainable oils and chemicals for a wide variety of applications such as biomaterials, detergents, and fuel additives.
  4. Pylantis (US/Japan) Jeff Toolan – An advanced biomaterials manufacturing company whose non-toxic, biomass-based materials replace traditional plastics in a variety of applications.
  5. re:char (US/Kenya): Jason Aramburu - A leading developer and provider of ‘biochar’, a carbon-negative charcoal that can be used as a charcoal substitute and as a powerful soil amendment which boosts crop yields.
  6. Recyclematch (US): Brooke Farrell – An online global marketplace for recyclables and waste byproducts for the $500B+ market in materials trading.
  7. Sanergy (US/Kenya): Joseph Atnafu - A provider of sanitation infrastructure for Nairobi, Kenya’s slums and of fertilizer and electricity from its byproducts.
  8. SEaB (United Kingdom): Sandra Sassow - A renewable energy and waste-to-energy company that provides compact, easy to install anaerobic digesters: a scalable solution for addressing food waste and other bio wastes directly at the site.
  9. SIRUM (US): Kiah Williams – Provider of a technology platform that manages donations of surplus medicines, with the ultimate goal of ‘zero medical waste.’

During the three day Forum, LAUNCH innovators will discuss their most pressing business and program issues with LAUNCH Council members, who represent the business, waste management, investment, international development, policy, engineering, science, communications and sustainability sectors. The sessions are designed to identify key challenges and opportunities for the entrepreneurs' innovations in an effort to more rapidly accelerate their solutions toward even greater real world impact.  Members of the press are invited to attend the Forum—please contact the NASA and USAID press contacts listed above.

Profiles of the innovators and their innovations will be available before the Forum at Real-time information during the Forum will also be available on this website, while video of the innovators' presentations will be available soon after the Forum. Interested members of the public are invited to watch portions of the Forum live online at beginning at 9 AM Pacific Daylight Time/Noon Eastern Daylight Time on Friday, July 20. 

The Founding Partners are joined in this program cycle by Forum, Resource, and Enterprise Partners including The Office of Naval Research, The Coca-Cola Company, IDEO, Recyclebank, and Architecture for Humanity.

To learn more about LAUNCH, visit:

For more information about USAID, visit

For more information about NASA and agency programs, visit:

For more information about the U.S. Department of State, visit

For more information about Nike, visit

Last updated: June 14, 2017

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