Hack:Trash:NYC

IDSA's NYC Chapter Takes Part in Waste Reduction Collaborative

Every year, an estimated six million tons of waste is produced by New York CityTo help reach the Big Apple's goal of zero waste by 2030, about 100 product designers, engineers, waste and recycling experts and environmental lawyers teamed up in fall 2017 for Hack:Trash:NYC, a three-day collaborative to develop and pitch an innovative product, business model, service, policy or education campaign that increases reuse in New York City and results in a meaningful diversion of waste from landfill.

Among the organizers: IDSA New York City. "We wanted to create an outlet for New Yorkers interested in making a difference in their community through design and we couldn’t be happier with the results," says Peter Schon, vice chair, who leads the chapter with Vijay Chakravarty, IDSA. "By partnering with DSNY and a broad spectrum of experts, we were able to set up our participants success. Now, with our sponsors at Designit, Co:Collective and The New Bureau, we’re working to provide our winners with the support they need to move their projects forward.  Stay tuned!"

During the first two days of the hackathon, teams brainstormed ideas and developed quick pitches to share with mentors and judges, who included Bridget Anderson, deputy commissioner for recycling and sustainability at the NYC Department of Sanitation; Margot Kane, chief investment and financial officer for Closed Loop Fund; Mikal Hallstrup, founder and global CEO of Designit; Peter Raymond, principal at The New Bureau, and Aude Broos, strategist at Co:Collective.

They were judged on: originality and creativity of analysis, strategic and practical implementation, meaningful impact on reducing waste to landfill, scalability and organization and effective presentation, communication and summary of solution. Three winners and one honorable mention earned a total of $5,000 in prizes. 

Surplus Food Catering's pitch focused on how to collect edible food that would otherwise go to waste, and donate it to shelters. Surplus Food hopes to offer low-cost or free prepared food recovered from supermarkets, restaurants and community-supported agricultures, to community centers. Surplus earned $1,670 and a half-day strategy and development workshop with the The New Bureau.

Milk Men Model's concept targeted commercial real estate buildings and reducing disposable container waste. The group proposed providing reusable containers to vendors, which could be dropped off at convenient collection points. The containers would be washed and redelivered to the vendors for reuse. Milk Men Model also won $1,670 and a half-day strategy and workshop with Co:Collective.

Fix.ly is an innovative app that would provide users with options to give items a second chance at life. Users would be able to choose from a list of repairs, select a time and day for a courier to come pick up an item for repair and select a time or day for a courier to drop off an item after repairs are complete. Fix.ly developers scored $1,670 and a workshop with Designit.

Honorable Mention went to Hack Pack NYC, which would create a closed loop packing system to help meal kit and grocery delivery companies better manage packaging to be compact, reusable and recyclable and made from PET, which is a more viable material than corrugated cardboard and insulation, according to the group.

See the coverage and a slidehow on Waste 360.