Long before the famous song – The Circle of Life – from the movie, the Lion King, set everyone pondering over this philosophical question, eminent thinkers and economists tinkered with this idea of “closed loops” for containing the effects of unrestrained human consumption on our ecology and economy.
Circular Economy, a sustainability model, propounded by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, is making world leaders take note of the need for re-X (re-use, re-make, re-cycle, etc.). Although the foundation has been advocating the cause in the last decade, the concept of circularity has been around for quite some time. In the 1960s, Kenneth Boulding presented the concept with different terminology. Walter Stahel’s work, a decade later, also provided another perspective on this topic of sustainability. However, it is to the credit of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s sustained efforts that a lot of interest and meaningful engagement has happened in recent years to action sustainability through implementations of a circular economy.
While the linear economy generates more waste due to its “take, make, dispose of” paradigm, a circular economy promotes waste-reduction by extending the effective life of a product. The output from one process feeds in as the input of another, thus considerably reducing waste.
The fact that a Circular Economy wave is sweeping the globe is evident in the active pursuit of programs aimed at implementing some form of re-X. In this context, India and Australia collaborated in conducting a Circular Economy Hackathon that aimed at rewarding thought leaders from industry and academia across both of these participating nations. The Hackathon, jointly organized by the Atal Innovation Mission and Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, witnessed enthusiastic participation. Winners were announced in four different categories. It is interesting to note that more than 1000 teams participated in this event.
We should encourage initiatives like this where bright minds come together to solve complex issues plaguing the entire world.
- An “Eco Dabba” that wraps your take-away meals in a 90% bio-degradable wrap is a great idea.
- B2B apps for global sourcing of eco-friendly packaging products is a huge initiative.
- Picking, Packing, and sorting e-waste by a robot is a welcome change.
- Smart trash bins that qualify the kind of waste they accept is out-of-the-box thinking at its best.
There were many more innovative ideas that popped up in the hackathon. A sensor to track the temperature and other vital conditions for a Covid-19 vaccine transporter truly demonstrated the kind of research commitment that events like this Hackathon foster.
When nations start coming together for collaborating on initiatives like this, a huge impetus is provided to a great cause. India-Australia Circular Economy (I-ACE) Hackathon 2021 has opened up the gates for dedicated research in solving global challenges in food, packaging, plastic, and electronic waste. Additional assistance provided by the respective Governments will lead to a greater inflow of much-needed funds required for some of the ideas to take concrete shape. Here’s hoping that our ecology comes full circle. We will be eagerly covering this critical initiative which has a tremendous impact on our future.
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This blog was originally pubkished here.