Walmart announces Green Student Challenge finalists

2/11/2013

A machine that can create fertilizer from organic waste in only a day. An app that helps shoppers find sustainable products at stores near where they live.

These are just two of the big green ideas that university students from across the country have come up with for the second annual Walmart Green Student Challenge.

More than 160 student teams from across the country submitted proposals since the competition was opened in September. Last week, Walmart announced five finalists that will compete for the grand prize. They are:

Carleton University, Ottawa: A team of students, the Carleton Composters, has proposed the development of a sustainable machine that creates nutrient-rich fertilizer from organic waste in as little as 24 hours.

Universite Sainte-Anne, Pointe-de-l’Eglise, N.S.: The On the Roof team has proposed a system for harvesting rainwater to supply industry bathrooms, helping to reduce energy bills and water usage in an environmentally sustainable way.

University of Toronto: EcoSense is a proposed mobile application that will make it convenient for users to find sustainable products from local retailers and their network of friends.

University of Victoria: The Gustavson Greenshifters team has proposed a recycling program for chopsticks using the wood as raw material to manufacture furniture products.

Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Ont. Canada Green Lawn Care is a start-up dedicated to providing zero-emissions residential and commercial lawn-care service.

“We’re thrilled that the Green Student Challenge is encouraging young minds to challenge Canadian companies and that these students have come up with such innovative sustainable business solutions,” Walmart president and CEO Shelley Broader said in a statement.

Broader will be among the judges who will  hear each student group present their ideas during the final round of the Green Student Challenge, at the Design Exchange in Toronto on Feb. 26. The judges will select the winning team, who’ll win $25,000 for themselves as well as $25,000 for their university.

The rest of the judging panel is comprised of: Dianne Craig, CEO of Ford Canada, Chris O'Neill, managing director of Google Canada, Claude Mongeau, CEO of CN, Ana Dominguez, president and general manager of SC Johnson Canada and Tom Heintzman, president of Bullfrog Power.

The event will be webcast live via greenstudentchallenge.ca.

Last year’s Green Student Challenge was won by a team from the University of Waterloo. Arthur Yip, Jake Yeung, and Alan Thai (pictured above with last year's CEO judges) came up with an idea to create an integrated energy hub at distribution centres. The hub would integrate solar rooftop panels, and be connected to the smart electricity grid to provide grid balancing and auxiliary services. Net economic benefits from the hub idea were estimated at $1.35 million per year over 20 years.

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