Melbourne opens waste and circular economy prize

The theme of this year’s City of Melbourne Open Innovation Competition is waste elimination and the circular economy, with a prize of $30,000 to be divided among the top three submissions.

Launched in February 2018, the Open Innovation Competition is the City of Melbourne’s annual challenge to solve a city issue.

With a different theme each year, the competition calls for innovators, entrepreneurs, students and community members to submit ideas to solve a challenge. Past themes include city accessibility and safe mobility.

From 21 May to 3 July, the city is inviting the community to propose solutions to eliminating excessive waste within the city.

“It is estimated that close to 800,000 tonnes of waste is created within the City of Melbourne boundary every year, some of which is recycled, most of which goes to landfill,” a City of Melbourne statement reads.

“As the city’s population and density increases and as mass consumption is a defining trait of our culture, we must find ways to engage industry and innovate our way towards zero waste along entire supply chains.”

This year’s problem statement is: 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?

The city is looking for solutions that enhance the accessibility of information to producers, industry, logistics, wholesale, traders and consumers.

“The goal is to educate these groups about the current waste supply chain and increase understanding of the role everyone plays in creating and completely eliminating waste,” the statement reads.

“We are also looking for proactive circular economy solutions that ensure the people and places of Melbourne play an active role in eliminating waste going to landfill.”

The city is encouraging participants to incorporate data and emerging technology into addressing one or more opportunity areas: C&D, C&I and household waste and circular economy solutions that address social equity.

In 2019, the City of Melbourne launched its Waste and Resource Recovery Strategy 2030, outlining a vision to turn Melbourne into a “zero-waste city”.

“The strategy clearly identifies reducing the production of waste as the most important priority as it reduces the need for recycling and recovering,” the statement reads.

“But it is not only high level changes at a city level, but also individualised behaviour change, that are recognised as key to achieving this. This is where we need your help.”

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