STEM startup sustainability is in business

Plastic pollution problem - a Sea Turtle eating plastic prompted a startup that recycles plastic pollution at the source

Watch these awe inspiring vids about growing sustainability in STEM business this National Science Week for maximum STEM inspo in schools!

Brought to you by NSW Department of Education’s STEM Industry School Partnerships (SISP) program and the Regional Industry Education Partnerships, film maker Jill McCall from Piece Together Productions has put together 35 short films for the NSW secondary school curriculum that tell inspiring stories of people committed to making a difference with their businesses.

Inspiring Australia NSW and Careers with STEM are excited to launch this initiative as part of National Science Week 2021 and share the stories of 11 amazing Australian STEM startup sustainability champions.

Flow Hive

Re-inventing the way we collect honey is the Byron Bay-based business Flow Hive, whose brilliant hives leave bees to do what they do best while allowing honey to ‘be’ extracted at the twist of a knob.

In February 2015, Flow Hive launched an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign and surpassed their $70,000 goal in just seven minutes. Flow Hive subsequently broke several crowdfunding records by raising more than US$12.3 million in start-up funds.

HuskeeCup

What’s the best material to make a reusable coffee cup out of? Waste coffee husks of course! HuskeeCup is a biopolymer cup, saucer and lid system manufactured from the industry’s agricultural waste, coffee husk. How cool is that?

Even better, the business has created a cradle-to-grave loop to allow customers to return their cup for recycling once it has reached the end of its life.

Mineral Carbonation International

Carbon dioxide is typically seen as a waste product, and one that is contributing to human induced global warming. But what if CO2 could be turned from an emissions problem to a solution?

The Mineral Carbonation International (MCi) developed a process to transform CO2 emissions from industrial sources into solid materials that can be used to manufacture cements, mortars, plasterboards, binders and emerging carbon-engineering products. Smart, no? MCi began trials to commercialise the process at a pilot plant in Newcastle.

Piccadilly Park

As we replace the natural environment with built environment and agriculture, we see a loss of biodiversity. At Piccadilly Park, a macadamia plantation on the outskirts of Bangalow in northern NSW, owner Rex Harris is experimenting with a radical seven-year program to transition from conventional monoculture (macadamia trees) to polyculture (reflecting a natural ecosystem) using regenerative agricultural practices.

Rex is removing every second row, a total of 8000 trees, to let in light and make space for inter-row multispecies cover crops. The cover crops are creating habitat and food for natural predators and pollinators. Follow the park’s progress on Twitter @drexharris.

Plastic Collective

What if you could shred and recycle plastic not by transporting household waste to industrial recycling centres but where the waste is created? In 2016, Plastic Collective Founder and CEO Louise Hardman developed a mobile plastic recycling machine that could be operated in remote communities with no recycling infrastructure. The Shruder shreds and extrudes plastic on site.

Louise and her team provide education about reducing, collecting, sorting and transforming plastic into useful resources that generate revenue through an ethical marketplace. She started her business after watching a young turtle die because it had starved to death due to ingesting plastic. What a way to make a difference! Watch Louise’s story below.

Watch all of these STEM startup sustainability videos and more on the Chief Scientist NSW website Growing Sustainable NSW Businesses with STEM

 

Heather Catchpole

Author: Heather Catchpole

Heather co-founded Careers with STEM publisher Refraction Media. She loves storytelling, Asian food & dogs and has reported on science stories from live volcanoes and fossil digs

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