5 Teams Build Innovative Housing Solutions from Upcycled Plastic Waste: P2G Pitching Showcase Event!
October was a month full of vibrance and joy at Impact Hub! Before we entered the Dashain season, we had a grand pitching showcase of the Plastic to Ghar (P2G) program, a culmination of the yearlong ideation and incubation program of the Plastic Waste remanufacturing project! The “Plastic Waste Remanufacturing for Local Housing: Innovation Ecosystem in Nepal” is a joint effort between Impact Hub Kathmandu, the University of Cambridge – Center for Industrial Sustainability, Field Ready and Sustainable Manufacturing & Environmental Pollution (SMEP). From the second round of the Plastic Upcycle MAKEathon back in November 2022, the winners from the phase were enrolled on the half-year incubation program. In this October showcase, the companies pitched their idea and won the seed fund of £800 each!
The project, funded by SMEP and UKaid, aims to address the issue of plastic waste in Nepal by developing innovative solutions for recycling plastic and reusing it in local housing projects. As part of the initiative, five local entrepreneurs and innovators were selected: Geodome, Paramendo, Plastic Heart, GD Labs and Scavengers who received support in the form of equipment, resources, expert guidance, and business incubation training. To further the project’s goals, we held innovation events, providing incubation support to startups, and franchising small-scale plastic waste remanufacturing units throughout Nepal.
The showcase event was a part of the P2G project, held at Impact Hub Kathmandu, where five teams presented their business ideas and product concepts to a diverse audience including local government representatives from Kathmandu, Illam, Besisahar, representatives from Cambridge University, local leads from the waste management sector of Nepal and partners.
We started our program with a lab tour where the attendees got to tour the entire laboratory, machines and ongoing projects in the hub. Ms. Shristi Shrestha, Environment Inspector, of Kathmandu Metropolitan City shared insights about waste management issues of Kathmandu among the participants. She also shared about current provisions enacted by the Government of Nepal such as solid waste management 2068, local government act 2074 B.S. National Climate Change Policy 2076, Environmental Protection Act 2076, SDG which shows the concerns of growing plastic pollution in urban space. Ian Bamford, Commercial Director for Center for Industrial Sustainability, Institute of Manufacturing, University of Cambridge and fellow team members joined us in the event through virtual medium. We incorporated the Eng-Nepali and Nepali-English Language translation facilities as making the program more inclusive for a diverse audience. We also were joined by Mr. Naresh Shrestha from Illam Municipality who showed commitment to support our plastic upcycling program intervention in Illam. Scavengers, one of the teams, are working in the plastic recycling initiative in Illam. Mr. Megendra Pokharel from Besisahar Municipality also joined us in the program to show cooperation around plastic waste management initiated by one of our innovation teams: GD Labs, who is working in the Besisahar region.
Mr. Amod Karmacharya, CEO of Clean Up Nepal shared his decade of experience and insights on the issues of plastic pollution and upcycling in Nepal which really inspired our team members. It was inspiring to see all the champions convening and showing commitment, solidarity.
Participants and products
The teams from our program are all working towards a common goal: to take discarded plastics and transform them into valuable and marketable materials for use in the construction industry in Nepal. The summary of teams and their solution can be observed in the table below:
Mr. Henrique Pacini from UNCTAD, Professor Anil Hira from Simon Fraser University and Mr. Thomas Askew from Pegasys Consulting shared their feedback and insights on the teams’ projects, discussing potential challenges and opportunities for growth. Ms. Curie Park of the University of Cambridge and Padmakshi Rana, Executive Director of Impact Hub Kathmandu, emphasized the positive impact the projects could have on people’s lives. Based on the evaluation of the team’s performance over the past two phases and pitch presentation, each of the five teams were granted seed funding of 800 euros to develop their business ideas. The team will receive further coaching and mentoring. We also had the honorable presence of the Chairperson of our Ward No. 3 from Lalitpur Sub Metropolitan City who showed support and encouragement for SME support programs led by local organization Impact Hub Kathmandu.
The event showcased the potential of plastic recycling to promote sustainable development and environmental preservation. By implementing innovative solutions for recycling plastic, the event highlighted the potential to drive increased demand for recycled plastic and encourage local investment in recycling infrastructure. The proposed solutions from the teams could result in decreased plastic waste in landfills or the environment. Additionally, these solutions could foster new business opportunities for local communities, creating jobs and promoting economic growth. By addressing plastic waste in a sustainable and economically viable way, these solutions could have a positive impact on both the environment and local communities in Nepal.