The Brisbane edition of annual global event Climathon, supported by CitySmart and Brisbane City Council, saw residents come up with some cracking ideas to reduce greenhouse emissions from waste.

What is Climathon for?

Climathon is a global 24-hour climate change challenge which takes place simultaneously in more than 100 cities around the world. It was founded by the group Climate-KIC Europe in 2015 in the run up to the historic Paris climate negotiations.

Climathon invites any member of the public to participate. It pairs the challenges of the world’s cities with people who have the passion and ability to solve them. Each city sets its own local climate challenge that reflects what affects their urban life the most.

With additional help, the winning idea can then develop into a tangible solution in the form of a project or business start-up.

The 2018 challenge: waste in landfill

The 2018 challenge was: how can we empower Brisbane households to tackle climate change by reducing the waste they generate?

Methane, this greenhouse gas is generated by waste in landfills, is 84 times more potent than CO2 over a 20 year period, which means every tonne of methane traps as much heat in our atmosphere as 84 tonnes of carbon dioxide. Greenhouse gas emissions including both carbon and methane are also associated with the production and distribution of stuff we end up throwing away.

The top ideas

The Brisbane event was held at QUT Gardens Point over a 24 hour period on 26 and 27 October.

Jaine Morris from event organisers Climate-KIC Australia highlighted some of the standout ideas:

    • Does it Recycle – An app that uses AR to educate kids (and adults) about how best to manage waste. This team actually built a prototype using open source software during the Climathon and were able to demonstrate it during their pitch.
    • Organic Powers – A food waste solution for high-density housing that involves providing decentralised anaerobic digestion to apartment buildings. The heat and gas generated would then be used on-site.
    • The Curbside Collective – A mobile grocery store (think ice cream van) that only sells rescued food. The idea is that they would develop relationships with farmers, retailers and restaurants to collect their food waste and then drive this around neighbourhoods selling the produce allowing people to purchase only what they need.

And the winning idea…

The expert Climathon Brisbane jury eventually settled on:

      • Five W – A van that provides reusable crockery and cutlery and a food waste service to markets, festivals and other events. The food waste would be processed into energy to run their operation.

The prize is different each year and can include mentorship, training and business introductions. Jaine says it’s up to the winning team to decide how they progress their idea.

“For example, there have been several teams at other Climate-KIC hackathons that continued to work on their idea post-event and are now a part of the Energy Lab Clean Tech Accelerator cohort,” she says.

Find out more at about this annual event and how you can participate: