Melbourne seeks innovation to help eliminate waste

The City of Melbourne is calling on innovators, entrepreneurs, students and the community to help reduce waste as part of the 2020 Open Innovation Competition.

The competition theme, ‘Waste and the Circular Economy’, sets a challenge to help eliminate as much waste as possible from within the City of Melbourne.

Chair of the Knowledge City portfolio, Councillor Dr Jackie Watts, said close to 800 000 tonnes of waste is created within the city each year.

“With population growth, mass consumption and rapid change, there is more waste is being created than ever before,” Dr Watts said.

“We’re calling on our city’s outstanding innovators to brainstorm ideas, support new innovations, and use our city data and move us closer towards zero waste.”

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 Open Innovation Competition will be held virtually through online submissions and engagement. The top solutions will be pitched at an event in August – with a prize pool of $30 000 in cash for top submissions as well as in-kind support for ongoing development and implementation.

There will also be an ‘international prize winner selected to participate in a virtual program with the Bandung Institute of Technology and the City of Bandung in Indonesia. The competition invites submitters to ‘think global’ and demonstrate how their idea could be adapted and scaled for application in an international context.

The 2020 Open Innovation Competition aligns with the City of Melbourne’s Waste and Resource Recovery Strategy 2030.

Chair of the Environment Portfolio, Councillor Dr Cathy Oke said a circular economy is where everything has value and nothing is wasted.

“Whether it’s home composting and using worm farms to reduce organic waste, or coming up with a solution for glass recycling, we can all have an impact,” Dr Oke said.

“The competition could result in new ideas to help reduce food waste, prevent litter, or deliver local solutions to household waste.”

The Open Innovation Competition 2020 will be run alongside a series of free digital Knowledge Melbourne events between May and July.

Dr Watts said the cancellation of this year’s Melbourne Knowledge Week was a difficult but clearly warranted decision following the official health advice from both the state and federal governments.

“The series of free Knowledge Melbourne events is designed to encourage the wider community to connect with some of the city’s smart, savvy and creative thinkers to explore key issues, discover big ideas and imagine a bright future together,” Dr Watts said.

“Even though Knowledge Week couldn’t go ahead as planned this year, this initial disappointment has morphed into a ‘virtual’ offering – a series of stimulating and exciting online opportunities to engage with our community which is, of necessity, spending more time indoors.”

“The Knowledge Melbourne online event series will cover an extraordinary range of thought-provoking topics – gaming, startups, creativity, food, innovation, sustainability and productivity.

For more information about the free-digital events, visit the Knowledge Melbourne website. Registrations are essential.

For more information about the 2020 Open Innovation Competition, or to apply, visit the Participate Melbourne website.

2020 Knowledge Melbourne digital series

Momentum Mornings – Monday 1 June and Monday 15 June

Guided group working sessions to explore how we can find small pockets of momentum during this time of uncertainty – and ultimately develop gentler approaches to productivity.

Damper Making with Native Ingredients – Saturday 30 May

Meriam chef and owner of Mabu Mabu, Nornie Bero, will lead a session on making damper in various Torres Strait islander styles with native ingredients.

Startup Summit – Wednesday 10 June

Co-hosted by City of Melbourne and Startup Victoria, this full-day virtual summit provides early-stage startups and aspiring entrepreneurs with fundamental skills to set-up for success.

Rituals of play in a global pandemic at Freeplay Independent Games Festival – Saturday 13 June

A panel of local game developers, designers, programmers and creatives discuss what they’re playing, how they’re staying connected and what new gaming ideas can be created during the pandemic.

Open Innovation Competition

Knowledge Melbourne will host a program of complementary events which respond to the problem statement: How might we create a more transparent circular economy by better addressing and influencing the ways in which the whole supply chain can eliminate waste? Including:

Zero-waste Cooking – Saturday 20 June

Social Food Project’s Ben Mac will deliver a zero-waste cooking demonstration. He will demonstrate everything from pickling to making fresh produce last longer.

 Reducing Household Waste – Tuesday 23 June, Tuesday 30 June and Tuesday 7 July

A three-part series delivered by social enterprise Reground, equipping participants with the tools to conduct a home waste audit and reduce their household waste.

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