2023 – 2024


   Sustainable Beauty Products



Previous Winning Entries are Below 


The Zinc Challenge is a competition created for undergraduate industrial design students who are currently enrolled at a College or University in North America. Students are encouraged to design a reusable or refillable personal grooming product or beauty product container that will meet functionality requirments and look stunning. 

Three winners will be selected, and each participant or group will receive an award for use at the college or university at which they are currently enrolled. A $2,000 award will go to each of the top three winners and $1,000 will be donated to their faculty advisor for use at his or her discretion within the department.




Fill out an entry form for each participating student. Each entry form must be endorsed by a faculty member from the school.  Click the icon above to access the form.



Once you complete the registration form, you will automatically be redirected to a downloadable PDF of the questionnaire. You can also access the questionnaire by clicking the icon above.


Submit your unique design along with the completed questionnaire to ZincChallenge@zinc.org by TBD.



The theme of the 2023-2024 Zinc Challenge is Sustainable Beauty Products.

Plastic is the number one contributor to physical pollution in the world and discarded beauty product containers, either after breaking prematurely or at end of life, add significantly to the problem. Robust, reusable and recyclable containers will reduce plastic pollution from beauty products. A first step towards reducing plastic pollution for personal grooming was reusable razor handles. The trend has continued with refillable cosmetics for stick products like deodorant, lip balm, lipstick, foundation, shadow and blush, for powders in compact cases and mascara, and liquids such as colognes and perfume. Sustainable and reusable personal grooming products and containers could now become not only functional but also highly decorative pieces. Zinc die castings are fully recyclable and readily accept any type of surface finish.

The challenge is to design a reusable or refillable personal grooming product or beauty product container that will meet functionality requirements and look stunning.

The main component of the product design should demonstrate the advantages of zinc alloys and the zinc die casting process. Furthermore, both the material and method of manufacture for your redesign need to be justified. Your presentation should convey an understanding of:


  • Appropriate selection of a zinc die casting alloy (be specific, i.e. Zamak 3 or ZA-8, etc), and what properties make that alloy a good choice for the product.
  • Design suitable for high pressure die casting
  • Selection of suitable surface finish
  • Recyclability and sustainability of zinc


This competition is open to all undergraduate students enrolled at an engineering or design college or university in North America in the current academic year.


Any individual or group involved in producing an entry may submit any number of designs and must fill out an entry form for each design. The design must be endorsed by a faculty member at the design college or university.

Single applicants: Fill in the information requested.

Group applicants: Designate one representative as the applicant, and place this person’s name and contact information in the appropriate sections. The remaining group members must have been listed on the zinc questionnaire and then on the back of the entry form. Limit one entry form per design submission.


  1. Complete the electronic entry form.
  2. Submit both the design and questionnaire by Friday 17 May, 2024 to: ZincChallenge@zinc.org.
  3. The body of the email must contain the name of the student, the school and supervising faculty member. 


The design entry must be organized in one (1) adobe .pdf file containing three (3) pages so that the complete concept with development can be understood.  The judge should not be required to make any assumptions not clearly shown in the file.

The following layout is suggested but not required:

  • Page 1 should detail the challenge and show the design development for the idea,
  • Page 2 should make clear the reason why zinc combined with high pressure die casting is appropriate for the manufacture and use of the part,
  • Page 3 should show the part isolated and in use for the intended application.

Written text should be minimal but is essential. The entry should select a zinc alloy appropriate for the design and describe why the solution is effective. Include a parts list and any text needed to highlight unique features that may not be clear unless identified.


A review of past winning entries [below] may be beneficial for understanding the requirements.


There will be three awards of $3000.00 each with the money split between the student or team ($2000.00) and the faculty advisor ($1000.00). The awards will acknowledge each designer’s name in all publicity.


The criteria for judging the competition will be based on the score and completeness of the questionnaire and the appropriateness of the solution to the design problem, including but not limited to: quality, originality, thoroughness and the development potential. It is imperative that the information on the boards convey the complete concept and not require the viewer to make any assumptions about the design not clearly shown on the boards.


The three (3) winning entries will be posted on this website. Entrance into this competition constitutes permission to post names and submitted designs by IZA for promotional purposes without further consent of the individuals involved.


Final selections for awards will be chosen by IZA and outside experts.


Any applicant or group who wishes to protect his/her work by obtaining copyrights, design rights, patents and/or any other intellectual property right must do so at his/her own expense. By entering the competition, the applicant agrees that IZA may use the submitted design for promotional purposes without restrictions or further compensation.



Please note that winners are listed in no particular order

Title: Glare

Designer: Brady Hawks

School: Purdue University

Instructor: Abolfazi Ghaderi


Judges’ Comments:

“Excellent presentation of the design. The use of icons helps to convey the message of the written text.”  

“Self-propelled and self-charging fits well with the contest theme.”  

“The strength of zinc with thin wall casting will keep the pedals lightweight” 

Title: Kinyonga Cart

Designer: Luke Wightman

School: Carleton University

Instructor: Stephen Field


Judges’ Comments:

“Interesting design idea to adjust the wheelbase for the different terrain.”  

“The properties of zinc make it ideal for the application and the width of the clamp will add stability to the wheel supports.” 

“Good alloy selection which could also be used for the pivoting arm holders providing the same strength, lubricity and corrosion resistance.” 

Title: Verve

Designer: Eli Mikiten

School: University of Oregon

Instructor: Tom Bonamici


Judges’ Comments:

“Zinc is used extensively for housings due to its high strength with good thermal and electrical conductivity. An excellent choice for a robust housing.” 

“A good explanation for the alloy selection which is appropriate for the application.” 

“Product could also be used in other market sectors.” 



Home Medical Devices

Please note that winners are listed in no particular order

Title: Man O2 (Nebulizer & Oxymeter)

Designer: Kyle Alexander

School: CSULB

Instructor: Jose Rivera


Judges’ Comments:

  • Professional layout of the presentation
  • Good overview provided of zinc alloy properties

Title: Shift

Designer: Chris Lee

School: Carleton University

Instructor: Tim Haats

Judges’ Comments:

  • Impressive application of zinc’s physical properties to anchor the product

  • The student has a good understanding of the sustainability of using recycled materials, such as zinc

Title: Zinc Pulse Oximeter

Designer: Varney Varney

School: University of Oregon

Instructor: Kiersten Muenchinger

Judges’ Comments:

  • Very playful design, which exactly met the challenge for a visible home medical device

  • If used as a toy by kids, the strength of the zinc protects the internal components from any possible damage. 



Product Redesign into Zinc

Please note that winners are listed in no particular order

Title: Ting! Skate Armor Designer: Leo Lickfold School: University of Wisconsin – Stout Instructor:  Dave Richter-O’Connell
Judges’ Comments:

  • Good arguments why to switch from plastic to zinc (strength, ductility). High score for originality.
  • Quite original, puts plastic into the penalty box!
Title: Inchiku Jig Designer: Bryce Lee School: Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design Instructor:  Pascal Malassigne / Chevis Watkinson
Judges’ Comments:

  • Good presentation, the renderings are nice and it is a good design. It also addresses a topic that is important in the industry ~ toxicity.
  • Love the execution, attention to details and the non-toxic shout-out.
Title: Clothes Hanger Designer: Szymon Salamon School: Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design Instructor:  Pascal Malassigne / Chevis Watkinson
Judges’ Comments:

  • I love the Sticky Note ideation ~ fantastic presentation.
  • This is exactly what the competition was about: substitute other materials with zinc.



Wearable Electronic Device

Title: Light Acumen Designer: Sidona Bradley School: University of Oregon Instructor:  Kiersten Muechinger
Judges’ Comments:

  • “I really like the design. It is unique and original, and it’s clear the designer has thought through many of the challenges of wearing and using such an inventive product.”
  • “The use of zinc (rigid material) makes sense in this wearable.”



Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) – Shielding Capable Document Holder 

Title: Virago Wallet  Designer: Brooke Harrington School: California State University at Long Beach Instructor:  Jose Rivera-Chang
Judges’ Comments:

  • “The designer clearly understands how the properties of zinc contribute to the functionality for RFID shielding while providing thin walls and the superior surface finishing needed for a high end product.”
  • “Utilizing zinc for the RFID wallet and the stylish clasps ties the design together.”
Title: RFID Wallet  Designer: Hannah Altshuler-Hansen School: University of Oregon Instructor: Kiersten Muenchinger
Judges’ Comments:

  • “The designer complements the warmth of zinc with the use of natural materials on the inside of the wallet in this simple and functional product.”
  • “‘Zinc came out ahead for castability when compared to other possible materials in this design.”
Title: Bikebox  Designer: Theo Hassim School: Southern Illinois University – Carbondale Instructor: Tao Huang
  • “The designer’s choice of ZA-27 alloy provides high strength and RFID shielding for this application.”
  • “Cycling is growing in popularity and this design adds secure storage to the bike.”


Title: Minimalist Utensil Shelf Designer: Jess Park School: University of Oregon Instructor: Jim Arnold
Judges’ Comments:

  • “I like the concept of this design. A very minimal design for utensils only, allowing for more drawer space for other kitchen products. The glass container can also be washed.”
  • “The student makes use of zinc die casting’s high fluidity to make thinner walls as well as the use of ribs to help strengthen the part.”


Title: Glass Support Brackets Designer: Justin Schwarting School: University of Wisconsin – Stout Instructor: Benjamin Pratt
Judges’ Comments:

  • “I like the interesting design for hanging glass giving increased flexibility with unlimited wire angles.”

  • “The student takes advantage of the ability to cast accurate dimensions and zinc’s corrosion resistance, which are both important for this application.”

Title: Vulcan: The Modern Balcony Designer: Simon Elser School: Purdue University Instructor: Ted Lu
Judges’ Comments:

  • “I like the use of various bracket designs for the different locations and functions on the balcony rail.” 

  • “The student recognizes the ability of die cast zinc alloys to resist corrosion and still look shiny and beautiful.”


Title: Ulfberht Knife Designer: Bryan Varga School: University of Oregon Instructor: Beth Esponette
Judges Comments:

  • ‘I liked the ergonomic look of this knife, and there may be an application for zinc in knife handles in general.’
  • ‘Very well executed design process. Benefits of using zinc shown in good detail.’
  • ‘Well executed design development with interesting historical reference.’
Title: Save-A-Shot Designer: Garen Gibbs School: Purdue Instructor: Ted Lu
Judges Comments:

  • ‘This is a good add-on product and clearly a good choice in zinc.’
  • ‘Excellent concept presentation. Imaginative solution to a barista’s problems.’
  • ‘Simple aftermarket add-on product with wide market potential and easy integration.’
Title: Zinc Faucet Designer: Cole Sippel School: University of Wisconsin – Stout Instructor: Benjamin Pratt
Judges Comments:

  • ‘Although zinc is already used in faucets, I liked the novel idea of using electronic controls on the nozzle. The reason for using zinc was clearly presented.’
  • ‘New imaginative approach to a one control faucet. Excellent execution of the design process.’
  • ‘One hand control of all functionality of the faucet improves on existing designs.’


Title: Tinderbox Designer: Garrett Warnick School: University of Oregon Instructor: Elizabeth Esponnette
Title: MODU Designer: Jacob Stranahan School: University of Oregon Instructor: Elizabeth Esponnette
Title: UMB Light Designer: Robert Caswelch School: Southern Illinois University-Carbondale Instructor: Tao Huang