World’s first composting hackathon

World’s first composting hackathon

The aim for Yarrabilba in south east Queensland to become Australia’s first ‘sustainable food city’ has given rise to the world’s first compost hackathon.

As part of the Food Agility CRC project, Queensland University of Technology (QUT) and Lendlease invited tech-savvy groups to develop a prototype for community composting.

Centre for Recycling of Organic Waste and Nutrients Director Johannes Biala said the event was organised as a hackathon to bring coders, developers and designers together around a common cause.

“Hackathon competitors were asked to develop high-tech organics recycling and food production systems, where in-situ monitoring and data collection facilitates a ‘green credit’ reward and incentive based circular economy for organics,” Mr Biala said.

“Fun, food and connections was the motto of the hackathon, which was hosted and facilitated by Substation 33 — an e-waste recycling and digital innovation social enterprise in Logan, south of Brisbane.”

The event included peer-to-peer skills exchange, roving technology, innovation and business mentors and the opportunity to meet Queensland’s Chief Entrepreneur Leanne Kemp.

“Team names such as Rawesome Foursome, Rumble Tumble, Green Cycle, Throw’n’ Grow and Wastey Boyz is a good indication that everyone had a good time,” Mr Biala said.

“It was also hard work for all competitors, for example, one group developed a fully integrated network of existing and start-up companies to make a circular economy for organics work.”

Mr Biala said other examples included a prototype for a sensor driven rotary home composter and a sensor enabled organics collection bin that rejects non-organic materials.

“Prize money of $1000 for the winning team was incentive enough for competing teams to put on the thinking cap and burn the midnight oil,” Mr Biala said.

“In the end, the judges selected the Wastey Boyz as the winning team. The presentation of the prize money in form of an old fashioned cheque gave most of them the opportunity to see a fossil of our payment system for the first time in their lives.”

Project leader and QUT Lecturer Dr Carol Richards said the winning team would be invited to work with Substation 33 to further develop the prototype, with the aim of piloting the innovation at the Yarrabilba master planned community.

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