This hack intends to bring together like-minded sustainability innovators who want to tackle the global waste issues within consumer hardware and e-waste, urban food systems, built environments, retail, and textiles. Innovators will collaborate to design and create solutions focused on eliminating, reducing, recycling, reusing and redesigning products or services.
“How might we use the latest advancements in science and technology to transform the global waste epidemic and create sustainable products and practical solutions or services to eliminate, reduce, recycle or reuse waste and drive a transition to a circular economy?”
For centuries, waste has been discarded into unwelcome piles that take up space and emit toxins. As cultures and technologies have developed, waste streams increased creating larger piles and higher financial, social, and environmental costs. Now is the time for a shift to recognize that waste is no longer trash but a resource.
Looking beyond the current “take, make and dispose” extractive industrial model, the circular economy is restorative and regenerative by design. It relies on system-wide innovation, it aims to redefine products and services to design waste out, while minimizing negative impacts. Underpinned by a transition to renewable energy sources, the circular model builds economic, natural and social capital. (Ellen MacArthur Foundation)
WHAT IMPACTS THE CHALLENGE
Economical – Certain materials, such as plastic, are cheap and quick to produce. Shifting production and resourcing sustainable alternative materials may cost more and may not be fit-for-purpose.
Convenience – Certain products and/or services are convenient for consumers and businesses. Consumers don’t want to [always] carry their own shopping bags, cutlery, keep-cups, straws, etc. Recycling and responsible disposable facilities are not typically easily accessible.
Social, behaviours and habits – ordering take-away, taking a straw for a drink, etc. are common behaviours that create waste.
Education – Lack of awareness:
- of the impact of mass consumption on the planet, ecosystems and human health, and;
- how and what to recycle or re-use, where to take waste/unwanted/broken products