Climate Change and the Circular Economy

A new, climate-conscious and sustainable economy is central to avoid catastrophic climate change. In 2020-2021, Skills for the Future will empower students from across Hungary to innovate new solutions to the challenges posed by climate change with mentorship from industry leaders.

Hungary Idea Camp

EIT Climate-KIC organised the 2020 Skills for the Future Idea Camp as two separate events to improve the participants’ experience as the event was held online due to the restrictions imposed by Covid-19.

The first Idea Camp took place in October and the second in December 2020. Overall, more than 200 Hungarian high-school students met online to brainstorm and work in teams to find the best solutions to the proposed challenges.

This year the problem questions were:

  1. How can school / everyday life be transformed and rethought based on the circular economy?
  2. What business solutions can be put in place to mitigate climate change in urban transport and food supply systems?

Students had the fantastic opportunity to participate in a lecture by Diána Ürge-Vorsatz, Hungary’s leading climate expert, CEU teacher and Vice-Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Amongst the 24 mentors who dedicated their time and knowledge to help the students during the brainstorming sessions were professionals such as an innovation coach, a circular economy expert from the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, founding owners of PANNON Green Power and many more.

The best 6 ideas were the following:

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the use of hand sanitiser has skyrocketed. Hand sanitiser is usually packaged in plastic, glass or aluminium. Many consumers pay attention to packaging waste collection rules, but unfortunately, some still don’t. For this reason, students aim to create a hand sanitiser in the format of single-use little spheres that melt to heat, so they sanitise hands without producing waste. The spheres would be available in packs of 10, in wooden boxes that can be refilled from specific sale points and would only need to be purchased once.

Students aim to set up a sewing factory where used clothes are recycled. The incoming garments (mainly received as donations) would be disinfected and bleached after sorting. School uniforms would be sewn from them using a patchwork process and dyed with natural colours.

As a first step, used clothing collection containers would be placed in Hungarian towns. The clothes would be collected and used to make bricks for indoor partitions or sound and heat insulation. The essence of the process is to mix the textile waste with a natural binder and then compress it into bricks, which can be stacked together to form indoor panels that can be easily assembled and disassembled.

The students from the town of Szeged want to take advantage of the local urban conditions. There are plenty of housing estates in the city, where people live in 5- and 10-storey panel houses with unused flat rooftops. Their goal is to create eco gardens on top of these buildings that provide fresh vegetables to the residents, utilising compostable kitchen waste and solar energy.

In Hungary, one-third of the food people purchase ends up in the trash. This could be avoided with a mobile app: households could upload photos and expiration dates of foods they no longer need, which other homes could buy at an affordable price. Negotiations would be conducted in person, based on actual needs. Why buy ten eggs when you only need two in the cake?

Hungarian households produce a substantial amount of waste from used oils (e.g. sunflower cooking oil). These could be handed over at designated collection points and used to produce fuel to operate public transport vehicles in an environmentally friendly way, emitting less carbon dioxide.

We Are Looking for Mentors!

Join us and share your knowledge and experience with student teams a few times over the academic year.