Bangkok, Thailand – 18 May 2021 – The Circular Innovation Challenge announced the winners of the competition. The 'RECYSO' team and the 'Waste to Waste' team won prizes totaling 200,000 baht. They also have an opportunity to develop their projects to resolve waste challenges.
Indorama Ventures Public Company Limited (IVL), a global chemical producer, organized the competition. The company collaborated with the United Nations Development Partnership (UNDP), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organisation (SEAMEO) and Thammasat University’s School of Global Studies (SGS).
The Circular Innovation Challenge program aims to raise public awareness of waste in Thailand. Throughout the program, young innovators have learned to develop skills to create solutions that help improve society and the environment. Up to 174 teams registered to the program, and 108 submitted their ideas to drive a circular and sufficiency economy. The program also provided a mentorship session to the ten finalists before polished innovations of the top finalists were ready to be showcased to international judges on the Pitch Day. Assessment criteria of the judges include selection of the best innovations based on impact, feasibility, and innovativeness.
The 'RECYSO' team won the ‘Circular Economy Innovation’ category. They used innovation to separate and recycle solar panels’ components for other purposes. The 'Waste to Waste' team won the ‘Water and Sanitation Innovation’ category. They showed how to recycle plastic bags to make plant seedling bags for farmers.
Yash Lohia, Chief Sustainability Officer at Indorama Ventures, said, "We congratulate both winners, and are proud to support the Circular Innovation Challenge that supports young innovators to bring their ideas to life. This is in line with IVL's commitment to promoting the circular economy, which keep products like PET bottles in the economic system with minimal impact on the environment. We believe young innovators are our future – they drive sustainable change and promote the industry positively. We are proud to be a part of their journey."
Evariste Kouassi Komlan, Regional Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Advisor, UNICEF East Asia and Pacific Regional Office, said, "Every child has the right to grow up in a clean and safe environment. Access to clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene practices helps children to grow up healthier and happier. We want to support innovation in water and sanitation both for and by young people – empowering young people to solve water and sanitation issues, and as co-creators of a water-secure world for children."
Sukich Udindu, Director of the SEAMEO Regional Centre for Sufficiency Economy Philosophy for Sustainability, said, "SEAMEO has achieved to strengthen the linkages and collaboration among partnerships for sharing the principles and values of the Sufficiency Economy Philosophy. Participants have learned and applied the philosophy to their workforce through dialogues and workshops. Furthermore, we will develop and expand the knowledge emerged during this competition to other countries at the regional and international levels to maximize our resources."
Pete Silvester, Faculty, the School of Global Studies, Thammasat University, mentioned that "It was thrilling to see over 400 young innovators join our workshops, even during COVID-19 where we brought the competition online. Our research at SGS has shown that mentorship, capacity development, and building connections with potential partners makes a big difference in a social innovation system. Creating a stage to showcase their innovations allows us all to see the amazing talent of Thai youth. Their energy and creativity has produced outstanding new solutions for environmental problems which I can really see being implemented in the future."
Aphinya Siranart, Head of Exploration, UNDP Accelerator Labs, said, “At UNDP, we believe in the power of youth as changemakers and drivers of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and that's why we are pleased to be part of the Circular Innovation Challenge to provide a platform for young people to demonstrate their resourcefulness and leadership in finding innovative solutions to address waste management and water & sanitation issues. To support young people, we must invest in our youth and co-create with them an environment in which every one of them feels empowered and inspired to realize their fullest potential and seize their own opportunities."
Watch records of the Circular Innovation Challenge competition’s workshops and presentations are available at https://www.facebook.com/tucircularinnovation/