- TheCircularLab, the open innovation centre of Ecoembes, has welcomed the closure of this project which aims to promote innovation in recycling and circular economy among young university students from different parts of Spain.
Ecoembes, the non-profit environmental organization that coordinates the recycling of packaging in Spain, has put the finishing touch to the first edition of the Circular University Challenge, in which more than 140 university students from 11 universities in 9 autonomous communities have participated.
Circular University Challenge aims to promote an innovative and entrepreneurial spirit in recycling and circular economy among young students from centres of reference in Spain such as: Autonomous University of Barcelona, University of A Coruña, University of La Laguna, University of La Rioja, University of Lleida, University of Seville, University of Zaragoza, University Pablo de Olavide, Polytechnic University of Catalonia, University of Valencia and Public University of Navarra.
This is an innovation project launched by Ecoembes in which two challenges were launched to university students giving them the opportunity to raise ideas and develop solutions to overcome them. Specifically, the students had to face two questions related to citizen science and eco-design: ‘How could we get citizens to recycle more and better?’ and ‘How can we design a service to help companies improve the sustainability of their packaging?
Zacarías Torbado, coordinator of TheCircularLab, states that “we are proud to launch projects such as Circular University Challenge, which show us the talent and commitment of young university students to the environment around them. My sincere congratulations to all the participants for the effort and work they have invested in implementing their ideas and providing solutions to the current challenges in terms of recycling and circular economy.”
What is Circular University Challenge?
It is a challenge launched by Ecoembes for restless people who want to generate solutions, individually or in teams, for challenges related to the circular economy. In this way, the organization seeks to generate a propitious scenario for people who think in an innovative way and who are able to work in teams and grow the ideas of their colleagues. In this edition of the program have participated students of multiple degrees from universities throughout Spain.
This project has been divided into two phases, a first in which training sessions were held from Campus Iberus that included methodology in Design Thinking associated with the circular economy and recycling of packaging. After this training, the participating teams had to present their candidacy through a video in which they explained their ideas to solve one of the two challenges initially posed. From all the projects presented, a jury formed by representatives of the participating universities and members of Ecoembes chose a candidacy from each university to move to a second phase.
In the second part of the Circular University Challenge, online and face-to-face mentoring sessions were held with each of the selected teams to develop their ideas and elaborate their prototypes and projects. In addition, from 8 to 12 July, a selection of finalists from the Circular University Challenge attended the second edition of Circular Design Sprint, an intensive training session based on Google’s Design Sprint methodology, applied to the circular economy and packaging recycling, held at TheCircularLab, Ecoembes’ open innovation centre located in Logroño, specialised in circular economy.
The 11th of July, TheCircularLab hosted the event that put an end to the first edition of the Circular University Challenge, in which the finalists presented their prototypes and a specialised jury chose the winning project.
A project led by students from the University of the Public University of Navarre, which consists of modifying the barcode of all the products in order to indicate, by colour code, which container it corresponds to for optimum recycling. Alberto Madurga Pastor, Jessica Goñi Moneo, Manuel Lorrio Muñoz and Alberto Arguiñano Ongay received the award of this first edition and a prize of 4,000€ with the possibility of participating in the Circular Talent Lab Program next year.
In addition, a special mention was made for its great possibility of implementation to the project presented by the team of the University of Zaragoza, composed by Maria Pascual Carbonero, Samuel Ruiz de Gopegui Aparicio and Marta Ortigosa de Carlos.