DEEP – Microplastic Challenge 29.11.-1.12.

Plastic waste, including microplastics in oceans is one of the biggest environmental challenges we are currently facing. Microplastics are formed by wear of products, e.g. car tyres and textiles, and by fragmentation from larger plastic objects in the environment. They are also intentionally used in consumer products and industrial chemicals. New solutions, sustainable services and business concepts are needed to protect our environment and to keep our water clean.

To prevent microplastics from ending up in the Baltic sea, FanpLESStic-sea project together with Helsinki Think Company and Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke) introduced DEEP – Microplastic Challenge 29.11–1.12 2019 at Terkko Health Hub in Helsinki. DEEP was a hackathon that focused on developing innovative solutions to prevent marine littering. DEEP brought together academics from various fields as well as actors from the private and public sector to co-create sustainable solutions to reduce the amount of microplastics that end up in the Baltic Sea.

DEEP Challenge was organized for the third time. In February 2018, DEEP – Baltic Sea Challenge focused on creating new business solutions for a cleaner Baltic Sea. In November 2018, DEEP – Water Well-being Challenge created solutions for well-being and sustainable business from lakes, rivers or the Baltic Sea. This time DEEP Challenge focused on how to prevent microplastics from entering the Baltic Sea.

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THE CHALLENGE

DEEP brought together students, researchers, entrepreneurs and other enthusiasts that co-created solutions for preventing microplastics from polluting the Baltic sea. The participants applied by themselves or with 2–4 person teams with a pre-existing idea.

The solutions focused on several topics, such as cleaning the snow and stormwater with filters, using algae to produce new materials from gathered microplastics and compensating the effects of plastic consumption.

WHAT IS IN IT FOR THE PARTICIPANTS?

In the tailor-made facilitated workshops the teams had the opportunity to develop their solutions with the help of various content matter experts as well as service design professionals. To enable intensive creating, the teams were provided with round-the-clock access to working facilities.

The winners of the challenge were granted 1000 euros and the opportunity to further refine their idea techoeconomically with Luke’s researchers. All of the teams gained new contacts and tools to make a real impact!

THE SOLUTIONS

DEEP – Microplastic Challenge brought together people from various backgrounds. The expertise of the participants varied from microbiology and engineering to design and marketing. Multidisciplinarity was also visible in the diversity of the solutions.

Out of the 7 teams, Green Wash was the winner of the challenge. They focused on plastic fibres that detach from clothes during washing. Their solution is a filter that clears the water from microplastics and can be attached to washing machines. The runner-up team was Ecometer, whose solution was to nudge people to drive more sustainably by using a meter that shows the effect their driving behaviour has on the amount of microplastic that detaches from car tyres. Team Mycelium took the third place with their mycelium filter discharge unit that captures microplastic particles from unfiltered stormwater.

You can read more about the results of DEEP – Microplastic Challenge from this blog post.

TIMELINE

22.10.
Application period starts
19.11.
Application deadline
21.11.
Accepted applicants are informed at the latest
FRI 29.11. (18-22)
Opening Workshop day. Challenge is presented and defining the problem begins.
SAT 30.11. (10-22)
Hacking continues and mentoring day. Finding the solutions, pitch training.
SUN 1.12. (9-14.00)
Breakfast and finalising touches
SUN 1.12. (14-17)
FINAL
IN DECEMBER
Further development with Luke researchers.