Hack the Waste, a 24 hour international online hackathon, took place on the 9th
and 10th of May 2019. It challenged students from a number of different
universities across the world, to come up with innovative solutions to the
growing global waste problem. The aim was to make the global community more
cognisant of the problem and create a conversation around feasible technological
A total of 57 students from UCLL in Belgium, Fontys in the Netherlands, DOBA Business School in Slovenia, Banku Augstskola in Latvia and Belgium Campus in South Africa all took part in an effort to make the world a better place. They were split into 8 groups and challenged to conceptualise a solution to the global waste issue, do a short presentation explaining their concept and come up with a marketing campaign.
According to the United Nations, around 2.12 billion tons of waste gets dumped across the world every single year. If that isn’t scary enough, if we took this waste and filled up as many trucks as possible and then lined them up, the trucks would go around the world 24 times! These findings show the urgent need for initiatives like Hack the Waste to solve the global waste problem before it’s too late! We need to start looking at old problems in new ways and hackathons allows for this.
Hackathons provide a space for global thinking and technological innovation which leads to new trains of thought. Many people think of technology and technological advancement as an enemy to the environment. This hackathon provided a platform to turn this notion on its head, by showing how technology can be used as the driving force for positive solutions to environmental problems.
Not only were students exposed to a multicultural way of thinking during the event, being able to engage with students from across the world who likely have very different ideologies surrounding waste, they were also encouraged to use an interdisciplinary approach when coming up with solutions. Students were put into groups with other students from a range of disciplines including IT, Marketing, Business and Risk Management. When technology is combined with this multicultural, interdisciplinary approach, the creative process is enriched.
The winning team, iRat, came up with a concept termed “Green Money” which has a specific focus on packaging and consumer habits. The concept is an incentive-based solution which rewards discounts to consumers depending on how eco-friendly the products they purchase are. The winning team was made up of three Belgium Campus students, Ernest Scheepers, Mbalenhle Khokhoba and Otshepeng Mashele, who worked alongside Diana Kraule from Banku Augstkola and Janus Lapajne from DOBA. Together these students came up with a brilliant, feasible solution in just 24 hours, imagine what they could achieve with more time!
To read more about the event and what each team came up with, click here: https://hackthewaste.com/wordpress/ or click here: https://itwithoutfrontiers.co.za/2019/01/15/belgium-campus-joins-hackthegoals/ to read about #HacktheGoals, a series of hackathons that Belgium Campus participated in.