An innovative Plastic Hackathon is taking place tomorrow (Saturday 9 February 2019), bringing together sustainability experts, big businesses, scientists, students and young people to collaborate in the urgent search for scalable solutions to help tackle the global challenge posed by plastic pollution. It has been developed by sustainability campaigner Dhruv Boruah in conjunction with Imperial College London, where the event will be hosted.
UK Government Environment Secretary Michael Gove has welcomed this new initiative. He said: “It’s great to see students and industry leaders are being inspired to join the fight against plastic waste during the Government’s Year of Green Action.
“Eliminating avoidable plastic waste is a part of our landmark 25 Year Environment Plan, but we cannot do it alone. This is a fine example of collaboration to help leave our environment in a better state than we inherited it for future generations.”
Dhruv Boruah, creator of the Plastic Hackathon, says he is encouraged by the UK Government’s support and participation in his initiative which aims to create greater open collaboration and coordination to ensure solutions are found to the mounting problem: “The increase in initiatives tackling plastic, sustainability and the environment is a step forward to the ever-growing problem posed by the world’s obsession with plastic, but we also need to ensure collaboration across the entire value chain and common standards.
“While competition can help to drive innovation, it can also hold back progress towards the common good. Besides, today there is a communication gap across the entire value chain and to achieve a true circular economy, we have to engage with everyone from product design to retail and waste management. That’s why we are striving to bring together such a diverse range of participants to pool their collective expertise and ideas.”
The Plastic Hackathon will bring together over a hundred high profile participants who are all experts in their own fields and work for major brands and organisations. Founding Partners sponsoring the Plastic Hackathon are Just Eat, M&S, UK Circular Plastics Network/Innovate UK and the event is being hosted and created in collaboration with Imperial College – Dyson School of Engineering Design. Other delegates come from diverse businesses such as Unilever, Pret A Manger, USB Asset Management, Made in Britain, Veolia and Sustainable Ventures.
One of the major brand participants is Just Eat, a leading global marketplace for takeaway food delivery.
At this weekend’s Plastic Hackathon teams will be challenged to find alternatives to current plastic packaging, focusing on a reuse and refill model, where they will be asked to design solutions that promotes the reuse of plastic or ultimately reducing the amount of plastic used in packaging relevant to five areas:
Grab and go food
Personal care items
At the end of the day, the teams will pitch their ideas to an expert panel of key industry representatives, entrepreneurs and impact investors. The most promising concepts that come out of the Plastic Hackathon will be developed further with a view to ultimately engage brands in trials.