Students who think green could win green in the Staples Global EcoEasy Challenge. Staples Inc. and the Golisano Institute for Sustainability at Rochester Institute of Technology today announced finalists for the Second Annual Staples Global EcoEasy Challenge—an international competition, inspiring university students to develop environmentally friendly office products.
The winner will be announced April 13 at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. The first place team will receive $25,000 and two runner-up teams will receive $5,000 each (plus royalties should any concept be brought to market).
For the first time, the public can help determine the winner by voting online at ecoeasychallenge.com. Public voting will be open from March 8 to 22.
“This year, we received a record number of entries from around the world,” says Mark Buckley, vice president of environmental affairs for Staples. “The global response to our challenge to redesign widely used, everyday office supplies further strengthens our international efforts to find quality sustainable office product solutions for the planet we all live on.”
“Global awareness and demand among young people for sustainable products is increasing,” adds Nabil Nasr, director of the Golisano Institute for Sustainability at RIT. “We’ve learned from these students that sustainability is an important factor in their purchasing decisions. Their enthusiasm and excitement for innovative, sustainable designs is an encouraging sign of the growing sense of environmental responsibility.”
Details on the finalist teams are below, including their university and concept information:
Team Cyrus, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore: An adjustable binder made of recycled materials. The binder can expand to hold 200 to 600 sheets of paper, equivalent to one- to three-inch binders.
Team EcoZeal, the Indian Institute of Technology, India: A lightweight tape cutter that can be adjusted to fit varying tape sizes and widths, made with 30 percent less material than typical dispensers.
Team Silver Monkeys, the University of Cincinnati, United States: A reusable, portfolio-style binder made of a material that allows it to expand to fit both smaller and larger amounts of paper.
Team GreenSparkle, Tsinghua University, China: A reusable, refillable glue stick container that greatly reduces waste generated from the product.
Team Simplicity, the University of Cincinnati, United States: A reusable notepad made of recycled and biodegradable materials, designed to eliminate individual paper waste.
Team Silver Monkeys, the University of Cincinnati, United States: A surge protector made with environmentally friendly materials that alerts the user when devices have been draining energy for extended periods of time.
Team Bolton, the Dublin Institute of Technology, Ireland: An adhesive tab for use instead of a staple. This device creates a strong hold on documents without wasting material to secure it.
Note: The Golisano Institute for Sustainability at RIT was formed in 2007 thanks to a $10 million gift from Paychex founder and chairman B. Thomas Golisano. The institute currently houses one of the world’s first doctoral programs in sustainability. It also conducts cutting edge research in nanotechnology, alternative energy development and validation, sustainable design and pollution prevention and works with a host of businesses and state and federal agencies including Xerox Corp., Eastman Kodak Co., General Motors, Staples, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the U.S. Department of Transportation.