Students from UNSW Sydney (UNSW) and Arizona State University (ASU) were invited to take part in the PLuS Alliance Circular Economy ResourCE Hack between 19-21 October 2018, where they competed to find zero waste alternatives for transitioning to a circular economy.
Over the weekend 70 students tested new solutions focused on eliminating, reducing, recycling and reusing products or services to create zero waste. All the teams brought their energy and enthusiasm to the challenge, and the ideas were engaging and original - encouraging us all to view waste not as trash but as a resource.
Student products were focused on reducing food waste, shifting consumer behavior, phasing out single-use plastics, and construction and deconstruction. The broad range of topic areas demonstrated the reach of the waste crisis and echoed the need for all industries to embrace more transformational strategies.
The winning ideas - Farmer's Friend from ASU, and Trashy UNSW - were judged by an international panel of judges, including PLuS Alliance Managing Director, Paul Ramadge, PLuS Alliance Fellow and Lecturer UNSW Business School, Richard Holden, and Director of Sustainability Practice at ASU, Rajesh Buch. The winning team receives USD$2,000 and support from both universities to build their prototype and further develop skills to drive real change in the waste epidemic. These pitches can be viewed on the PLuS Alliance YouTube channel.
The PLuS Alliance grand prize winner demonstrated a sustainable growth strategy for their idea, they utilised their presentation to the maximum - displaying the financial model, timeline and feasibility. The judges commended both teams on their originality and professional pitches.
And the winner is Farmer's Friend from ASU, made up of team members Jacob Bethem (PhD Sustainability), Andrew John De Los Santos (MS Sustainability), and Sudhanshu Biyani (MS Mechanical Engineering). The concept of Farmer's Friend is a food brokerage platform service that offers guaranteed pricing to produce farmers in India to reduce their excess waste at the pre-consumer phase and redirect it to those in need.
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