Designing out waste

Designing out waste

In partnership with Common Purpose and the City of Melbourne, RMIT students have come together with frontline organisations to tackle one of Melbourne’s biggest challenges: waste.

As the City of Melbourne aims to send no waste to landfill by 2030, waste management has become a pressing issue. 

It's a problem the annual City Challenge, an initiative of RMIT's Global Experience Office, set out to solve, inviting 500 students to research and develop their own innovative solutions.

Held over two days, the challenge tasked students with finding viable solutions for the waste industry, with the chance for their ideas to become a reality through the help of RMIT Activator.

The winning team of the 2019 City Challenge, which developed a new disposal and management system for organic waste across RMIT campuses

They presented the top five concepts to an industry panel including The Right Honourable Lord Mayor of Melbourne Sally Capp; Deputy Vice-Chancellor Engagement Melissa Sweetland; RMIT Sustainability Services Senior Manager Linda Stevenson; and Chief Executive Officer of KS Environmental Jim Dunstan.

Sweetland said the City Challenge helped connect students with industry and develop important skills for the workplace, through working in diverse teams, creative problem solving and developing innovative ideas.

“We’re proud to work so closely with the City and industry leaders to help students develop the skills needed for the future world of work,” she said.

Students were given a crash course on the waste industry and met with industry representatives, including Sustainability Victoria, Queen Victoria Market, and waste management company Veolia, to learn about waste management and sustainability and help them interrogate areas of interest and develop their ideas.

The Right Honourable Lord Mayor Sally Capp listens to the innovative solutions students developed to reduce waste in Melbourne

The winning team proposed a new disposal and management system for organic waste across RMIT campuses, producing a useable bi-product that turns waste into a resource and paves the way for city-wide solutions.

The Lord Mayor said RMIT was valued for driving the intellectual capital of this city.

“We're able to provide insight, through programs like these, into issues that are directly affecting our community and our economy today, and have long term legacy consequences,” she said.

“RMIT successfully harnesses young talent, ideas and energy, and applies that in so many valuable ways. That’s why the City of Melbourne looks to RMIT as an integral part of how we plan our future.”

Students work with industry partners to develop their ideas into viable solutions

Associate Director Global Entities & Experiences Sam Baillie said it was inspiring to see the passion students brought to this challenge.

“Given they had two days to immerse themselves in the war on waste, the quality of ideas pitched to the Lord Mayor demonstrate what RMIT students can achieve when they work together,” Baillie said.

“Programs like the City Challenge allow students to develop skills that are crucial for life and work.”

The runner-up concepts - including a Queen Victoria Market grocery delivery service and converting the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival into a waste-free event - impressed the panel so much that the Lord Mayor announced she would introduce the teams to the CEOs of these organisations to carry their ideas forward.

 

Story: Alicia Olive

12 September 2019

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12 September 2019

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  • Sustainability
  • Industry
  • Student experience

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