3 Romanians are participating to the European competition Plastic Fantastic Challenge

Last year in October, 5 leading Impact Hubs in Europe announced Plastic Fantastic Challenge, the program especially created to support innovation in fixing some of the environmental issues caused by plastic waste. The Plastic Fantastic Challenge is initiated by Enviu and powered by Impact Hub, in partnership with Unilever Romania.

The competition gathered 108 ideas, 16 of the participants being from Romania.

The main goal of the program is to deliver a solution backed by business plan and strong pitch in front of the Bootcamp Jury in London, 1-3 April, where only one of the 10 teams selected from all over Europe will win the 10 000 EUR award and a 6-month Impact Hub membership.

Who are the 3 Romanians who are participating in the competition

coffee_uydplgOfelia Zaha

is a nature lover and a firm believer in social entrepreneurship. She has an ongoing project which facilitates used cooking collection in student dormitories and an NGO which tries to implement recycling for businesses.
The proposed project is called Make reuse easy – start with coffee. It is a simple method to reducesingle plastic cup use in schools, universities, office buildings by placing a vending machine which offers the posibility to choose between a refill and plastic cup.
This is more of an educational project, however it does maintain cash flow possibilities. The issue tackled in this case is the single use plastic cup. Most coffee vending machines from all over the world offer as a single possibility – the option to consume a plastic cup whenever you buy a coffee. Even though you pour your warm beverage in another type of cup you practically throw away in a few seconds an item which is difficult to recycle (as it is contaminated) and which traveled long distances creating carbon print to reach you. We want to stop this madness by simply communicating with institutions: schools, universities, office buildings, etc and offering them an alternative to have a new vending machine: one which offers the posibility to choose to drink coffee from mugs and bottles made from porcelain, steel, glass, aluminium, etc.
Less plastic cups which end up in the landfill, a reduction in demand of plastic cups, a higher demand for artisan mugs and bottles and thus a small boast for small entrepreneurs, revival of the citizens consciousness.
She has tested five risky assumptions. The riskiest one was the fact that students don’t mind carrying with them a cup/ bottle to use when buying coffee. It proved to be invalid as they find it difficult to carry a recipient with them to fill with coffee from the vending machine.

2c739408eaeb21892f50ff045da3ddfeRadu Irimie

is the Owner of www.filtreh2o.ro, a company specialised in selling, installation and maintenance of household filtration units. Since high school, he has been involved in multiple ecologic programs like ecopicnk, a project that cleaned the garbage from Lake Capra and Caltun in the Fagaras Mountains in Romania, Let’s do it Romania and other such events.
His proposed project is called Refill it, don’t kill it.Refill the plastic bottles with water from a water vending machine near you instead of throwing away the bottle after you have emptied its contents.
Plastic bottles that are thrown away after the content is empty. These bottles can be reused exactly in the state and shape they are after the initial content has been emptied. There is no need to involve a process in transforming the plastic bottles into something else. This way, there will be less plastic bottles produced in the first place.
The impact is huge since the majority of the plastic waste are the plastic bottles that are been used a single time and afterwards discarded. Instead of buying a mew plastic bottle, the same bottle can be refilled. Also, if people prefer glass bottles, these can be refilled from the vending machine. Every container meant to store a liquid can be refilled, thus eliminating plastic bottles totally.
The riskiest assumption is that people will be naturaly driven to the new concept and buy water without education from our side. Since the water is cheaper and fresher it it normal that people will tend to come to the vending machine. The people are now buyng bottled water from the supermarket, and that is considerd normal in Bucharest, the place where I want to implement the idea.

IMG-20160229-WA0005_o4bwdvȘtefan Sava

is a product developer and social business entrepreneur for 3 years in making circular economy products.
His proposed project is called Matroska Biodegradable Reusable FoodBOX and means to show how to get rid of plastic bags, containers and boxes through an innovative reusable box from certified ecopaper for food, that would change the filosophy of disposable packaging.
Plastics bags are so cheap, bad designed and sometimes unsafe to eat from them. Nobody in the industry wants to recycle this. Not even the consumer. It’s a bad user experience for the consumer because it’s dirty and takes a lot of effort to make it clean and ussually it has to go the garbage asap. For the business it’s not profitable to recycle. The quantity of plastic from food packing is so small and difficult to wash that is not worth it.
Take out of circulation the plastics from the food industry that are no part of a recycling scheme. It can change a little bit the filosophy of retail in the way that final consumers would benefit from cost reductions of the food for reusing this solution. It can be inforced by procedures or it can come naturally with collaboration in the industry.
The market would not adopt fast enough or the design would not be great enough for clients.

The 3 participants answered a full set of questions, in order to determine very clearly their business and action plans. You can read all about it on the official Plastic Fantastic Challenge page:

Andreea Celmare

Andreea Celmare

Marketing & Incubation Ninja

With a dash of good communication, passion for design and always looking for a different approach, Andreea is communicating about everything that happens inside Impact Hub. Let's talk about concept, creative strategies, branding and identity.