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9 May, 2024 - 4 min read

Turning Waste Into Wins:
The Great Bin Revolution Challenge at academyEX

It's not every day that you see a group of bright minds come together to take on a seemingly ordinary household nuisance – food scrap bins. But at academyEX, we don't do ordinary. In a forward-thinking exploration, we presented our latest EXperience Challenge – The Great Bin Revolution!

This challenge charged our participants with harnessing the power of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and other disruptive technologies to tackle the sticky problem of food waste bins in Auckland – not a small task by any means.

A showcase of imagination and ingenuity

Three brilliant teams stepped up to the challenge, each offering bold and creative solutions. Their imaginative ideas not only reimagined waste management but also transformed what we often consider as bothersome scraps into valuable assets.

Chris Grace, Yoann Ledey and Sarah Colin consisted of Team 1, who proposed a solution involving a sophisticated smart waste bin that would not only handle waste more efficiently but also repurpose it in a multitude of useful ways. The bin evaluates the type, quality, and quantity of waste to extract water for safe drinking and create customized vitamins and minerals based on the user's dietary needs. It even produces fibers and polymers from waste suitable for 3D printing. The judges were particularly impressed with the idea of oxygenating waste to reduce smells, the consideration given to pets, and the balance between innovation and privacy.

Team 1

Team 1, left to right: Sarah Colin, Yoann Ledey and Chris Grace

Rani Sing and Grace Mua were Team 2, who meanwhile, focused on a two-part solution that began even before waste hits the bin. Their proposal involved a "Smart Fridge" that alerts the user about food nearing its expiration date and suggests recipes to reduce waste. They also conceived a smart bin made from sustainable seaweed plastic, equipped with temperature control, level monitoring, and smell-absorbing charcoal filters, and capable of energy production. The judges praised their comprehensive view of the waste journey through the home and their focus on renewable resources, and the consideration of renewable materials such as seaweed plastic won them extra points!

Team 2

Team 2, from left to right: Ranitea Sing and Grace Mua

Kimberley Ansell, Ananya Khare and Daniel Naranjilla were part of Team 3, who introduced a solution aimed to simplify the process by replacing the existing multiple bins system with a single bin. This bin could process a variety of waste, excluding glass, and convert it into biogas for home heating and electricity, providing tangible incentives for residents to correctly dispose of their waste. Additionally, the solution uses sensors to provide insights into a household's eating habits and gut health, aspects that deeply impressed the judges. The judges commended the team's ideas about feeding data into public policy, essentially using crowdsourced information from across New Zealand to inform national waste management.

Team 3

Team 3, from left to right: Kimberley Ansell, Ananya Khare and Daniel Naranjilla

And The Winner Is...

After careful deliberation and reviewing the innovative solutions presented, the judges announced Team 1 as the winners of The Great Bin Revolution Challenge at academyEX. Their approach and insights to transforming waste into beneficial resources suitable for 3D printing swung the win in their favor.

Beyond the congratulations extended to the winning team, the valuable contributions of all the competing teams deserve recognition for their novel thinking and commitment to solving a real-world problem in innovative ways. Huge thanks to challenge coach and judge Kriv Naicker for your knowledge, inspiration and guidance, and Dr David Parsons, for your valuable contributions as a judge.

Winning team with judges

Winning team with judges

Join the Next EXperience Challenge

The challenge serves as an excellent example, showing how creative thinking paired with technology can transform everyday problems into exceptional opportunities. Also, it presents a fantastic opportunity to meet new people, create authentic face-to-face connections, and expand your network with like-minded individuals. All this while having fun over really delicious nibbles!

Intrigued? Keep an eye out for our next EXperience Challenge!

Co-Written by: 
Maheshi Wadasinghe & ChatGPT-4

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