So I have been on the lookout for something interesting regarding Green IT, and came across this: University of Illinois International E-Waste Competition
This is a fantastic example of a winning combination of innovation, youth, intelligence, and good intentions. Just the right mix that we need to solve the big challenges.
In case you weren’t aware, E-Waste is a serious problem, with an estimated 50 million tons of old laptops, chargers, monitors, and other assorted computer stuff going into a landfill each year.
The problem is global, the solutions may be, as usual, local.
The University of Illinois holds a competition which enables students to compete in two categories: Artist/Designer and Geek/Technical. It’s a pretty interesting competition too – it’s definitely well intentioned, but it delivers the goods. The students are encouraged to hold their own “E-waste” collection drive. I love that the teams are responsible for collecting the waste that they ultimately repurpose, and that they are using items that presumably would otherwise be in the landfill if they did not hold the drive to collect the stuff.
Also awesome: The “spirit of this competition is to prompt the industrialized world to dialogue about product designs for environmentally responsible green computing and entertainment.” This is just the type of effort that we need to cultivate. A tribe of e-waste collectors, innovators, and repurposers can provide value for us all.
There are some big time sponsors too – Dell and Walmart are on board this year. Prizes total 16K in tuition reduction. They will post the ideas of the finalists on the website so that everyone can see the solid work that gets completed.
Some interesting winners in years past:
Centuria Centuria is a supercomputer that combines the memory and motherboards of smaller computers, kind of like the Voltron of the computing world. Totally awesome.
A Hydroponic Farm Love that – I am sure they were thinking they could grow Tomatoes.
I am interested to see more competitions like this that inspire innovative solutions to our most significant challenges.