Sustainability

£7,000 innovation prize up for grabs at RWM hackathon

A prize of £7,000 will be up for grabs at this year’s RWM conference as part of a technology ‘hackathon’ to deliver innovative solutions for advancing the circular economy.

RWM, held at Birmingham’s NEC from 12-14 September, is the waste and resources industry’s flagship event, with exhibitors from across the industry, as well as energy and water, joining a large programme of speakers.

£7,000 innovation prize up for grabs at RWM hackathon
This year, the London Waste and Recycling Board (LWARB), RWM, and this year’s event industry partner, SUEZ recycling and recovery UK, have teamed up to host the ‘hackathon’ competition.

As information technologies, smart data and the interconnectivity embedded in the Internet of Things have digitalised many mundane activities such as shopping, with 15 per cent of UK retail shopping now conducted online, the resources and waste management industry is waking up to the potential benefits of this digital revolution for the services it provides.

The ‘hackathon’ event, known officially as #CEhack17, is a collaborative challenge bringing teams of innovators together to showcase innovative ideas that use mobile technology and smart data to make efficiency gains in resource and waste management. In addition to the £7,000 prize, the winning team will have the opportunity to receive advice, support and mentoring from industry experts.

Wayne Hubbard, Chief Operating Officer at LWARB, said: “Our idea for a ‘hackathon’ at this year’s RWM exhibition was motivated by the desire to discover some great ideas to advance the circular economy, while showcasing the work of UK-based entrepreneurs who are harnessing technology to drive resource efficiency.”

The competition’s organisers say examples of issues that innovations could address include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • influencing consumer purchasing decisions to nudge them towards buying products that can be repaired, exchanged or recycled;
  • developing apps that can help collect small volume or specialist waste products, such as coffee capsules;
  • informing consumers how materials can be recycled and whether their local authority can collect those materials; and
  • engaging 18-34 year olds with recycling, through gaming or reward schemes.

Those interested in taking part in the challenge must submit outline proposals to LWARB by 17 August 2017.

Successful applicants will then be invited to pitch their ideas at a special event in London on 31 August, after which five teams will be selected to pitch for the prize in the final at the RWM conference on 13 September 2017.

Nurturing ideas

Looking forward to the competition, Stuart Hayward-Higham, Technical Development Director at SUEZ, said: “We all generate waste, so engaging with as wide audience as possible and empowering their innovation and creativity in finding new solutions to minimise and prevent waste is both logical and really exciting. I cannot wait to see what creative and connected minds can propose in this call.”

Dr Colin Church, Chief Executive of Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM), added: “This an exciting development for RWM 2017, and really supports the concept of getting entrepreneurs and SMEs involved in the drive towards a more circular and resource productive future.

“Mobile technology, smart data and the Internet of Things have the potential to radically change our production and consumption models and drive more sustainable practices and behaviours and I look forward to seeing the ideas that come forward.”

You can find out more about how smart technology could shape the future of waste and resource use in Resource’s in-depth feature.

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