Fontys School of ICT participated in 4th edition Hack The Waste

Fontys Information and Communication Technology

Intercultural & multi-disciplinary cooperation on big issues

Hack The Waste is a hackathon focusing on the global waste problem. Each year a total of 2.12 billion tons of waste is produced. This is not only an environmental problem, but also has a social impact. Hack The Waste is all about finding creative solutions and this year 64 students from various international educational institutions took up the challenge: to come up with a workable solution for an applied waste problem in 24 hours.

4th Edition Hack The Waste

On March 26 and 27, 2021, the 4th edition of Hack The Waste took place, as it does every year, entirely online. Fontys Hogeschool ICT has been a participant and partner in the hackathon for some time now. During the 24-hour event, the students were supported this year by coaches in developing their projects. On behalf of Fontys, Michael Schifferling (lecturer & coordinator ICT & Game Desing and Technology), Chris Geene (lecturer ICT & Media Design) and Pieter Wels (lecturer Concept & Design) were present to share their expertise deep into the night. Wouter Sluis-Thiesscheffer (Senior Researcher Applied Game Design) is involved in the organization of the event, and this year also provided the uplifting music for the heavy moments in the wee hours. Other educational institutions involved in the event are UC Leuven Limburg (Belgium), Belgium Campus ITversity (South Africa), UNESP (Brazil, University College of Northern Denmark, Avans Colleges and Banku Augstskola (Latvia).  

How do you improve waste separation in SMEs?

This year's challenge was provided by waste management company Renewi. It was as follows "How might Renewi enthuse or help SME clients in dense cities to separate their waste?" So it concerns SMEs, which need to be encouraged to separate their waste better. Better waste separation increases the percentage of waste that can be recycled. This is because sorting is often too expensive for processors, making incineration the cheaper option. If the waste is delivered sorted by the source, new opportunities arise. The case had several frameworks and in the 24 hours students were allowed to come up with a solution. The deliverables are a business model, a proof of concept, a press release, marketing campaign, risk analysis and financial analysis. This is shared with the jury in a short pitch. Not just an ICT challenge, but a multi-disciplinary, international collaboration of students from the Netherlands, Belgium, South Africa, Latvia, Denmark and Brazil. Cultural differences, but also very practical problems now and then. An assignment straight from the field. 

Gamification as a solution

All students managed to successfully complete the assignment. Many of the solutions looked for a way to modify human behaviour with a gamified system or online certification. A few groups came up with a completely different hardware solution, such as smart containers. The winning group of students came up with a gamification solution that allows users to earn badges through an app, which scales the score according to the size and type of organization. The badges are credentials for the companies, which they can showcase themselves. The marketing plan rested mainly on a shock campaign, to raise awareness among the target audience and activate them. For their contribution, the winners were given the opportunity to plant trees on behalf of Renewi as a positive contribution to the world. All participants received micro-credentials for their participation in the event. 

Hack the Waste is a good example of the reality of the field. Solutions to larger problems come from applied thinking and collaboration across disciplines. ICT is a tool within this to facilitate a positive impact. Want to know more about Hack The Waste? Please contact Wouter Sluis-Thiesscheffer


Tags: Events