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Collaborative hackathon offers £7k prize to circular innovators

A national call has been launched for innovators interested in a circular economy to take part in a technology hackathon at this year’s RWM conference at Birmingham’s NEC, 12 -14 September

Information technologies, smart data, digitisation and the Internet of Things have revolutionised many activities in our daily lives. For example, 15 per cent of UK retail spending is now online, totalling £52 billion in 2015. EBay hosts 150 million active trades at any one time and lists more than 700 million items, far in excess of the inventory that a physical market can hope to store or display.

Smart data, mobile apps and other digital applications are also beginning to be applied in waste management, with ‘smart bins’ being just one example. But can we do more? Can we use these technologies to help consumers make educated product purchase, reuse and recycling decisions? Can we make product management and waste management more joined-up and efficient?
“Will you take the #CEhack17 challenge?”, ask the organisers of this event.

London Waste and Recycling Board (LWARB) has teamed up with RWM and this year’s event industry partner, SUEZ recycling and recovery UK, to host #CEhack17. This is a collaborative ‘hackathon’ event with a £7,000 prize available and an opportunity to receive advice, support and mentoring from industry experts.

The challenge is to showcase innovative ideas that use mobile technology, smart data and the Internet of Things to deliver solutions for improving circularity. By way of example, innovations could address (but are not limited to) the following aims:

• Influence consumer purchasing decisions to help them buy products that can be repaired, exchanged or recycled
• Develop apps that help with the collection of small volume or specialist waste or redundant products, for example coffee capsules
• Inform consumers how materials can be recycled, and whether their local municipal collection services can collect and recycle those materials
• Engage 18-34 year olds with recycling, this could be through gamification or reward schemes

If you’re interested you need to submit outline proposals to LWARB by 17 August 2017.
Successful applicants will be invited to a pitch day in London on 31 August 2017, from which five teams will be selected to pitch for the prize at the final at RWM in Birmingham on 13 September 2017.

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. We’re delighted that SUEZ and Ascential, the RWM event organisers, are as excited as we are about it, so working together on setting this up is a fantastic opportunity for all of us to meet talented technology innovators.”

Stuart Hayward-Higham, Technical Development Director at SUEZ, added, “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.”

And Dr Colin Church, Chief Executive of Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM), said, “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.”

Nicola Meadows, RWM event director, Ascential, concluded, “RWM is a place to nurture new ideas and innovation is a central part of the event. We’re excited to see how technical innovators can help us implement RWM’s umbrella concept of One Planet Living, championing the better management and supply of the world’s resources in an increasingly interconnected world.”

For more information on the challenge, click here.

Held in partnership with CIWM, RWM is billed as the event for the Energy, Water, Renewables Recycling and Waste Management industries. Register for RWM 2017 here: www.rwmexhibition.com.

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