Taking environmental consciousness to a global level, Staples Inc, the world's largest office products company, has announced the universities with finalist concepts for the inaugural Staples Global EcoEasy Challenge. The program received more than 60 submissions from around the world describing innovative concepts for an environmentally preferable business or home office product. From the entries received, teams from five countries will compete for the grand prize at the finals April 20 in New York City.
Staples, in partnership with Rochester Institute of Technology's Golisano Institute for Sustainability, issued a call to action to leading technology institutions around the world. The challenge prompted students to develop a new design of an existing product that represents greater environmental responsibility or sustainability, one that uses an eco-innovative material or a completely new product that promotes sustainability.
Each team consists of up to five students from the participating universities. At the finals competitors will formally present their concepts to a panel of expert judges at the New York Academy of Sciences. One grand-prize winning team will receive $25,000 and first- and second-place teams will receive $5,000 each.
The finalists for the competition are:
- Indian Institute of Technology Madras (India) (Three Teams)
Concept: A desk chair that controls office power consumption to avoid wasted energy
Concept: A shredder with innovative technology to reduce power consumption
Concept: A more eco-responsible take on the pen that significantly increases the product's lifespan
- University of California, Berkeley (United States)
Concept: A mini-stapler made from environmentally preferable materials
- Engineering of Piracicaba (Brazil)
Concept: A line of desk and drawer organization tools made out of a local, sustainable material
- Technical University of Berlin (Germany)
Concept: A writing instrument designed for easy recycling when no longer usable
- University of New South Wales (Australia)
Concept: A binder that uses an innovative adjustment mechanism
"The Global EcoEasy Challenge is a way for students from some of the world's leading technology institutions to apply their design and engineering expertise to develop a product that will benefit the greater good," says Mark Buckley, vice president of environmental affairs for Staples. "Staples' commitment to designing more environmentally responsible products as compared to conventional products is evident by our own EcoEasy and Sustainable Earth brands, in addition to the thousands of other eco-preferable products and services that we offer our customers."
Nabil Nasr, director of the Golisano Institute for Sustainability at RIT adds: "With conservation and sustainability such a vital part of our curriculum, RIT was thrilled to work with Staples to bring the Global EcoEasy Challenge to life. We issued this challenge to the next generation of environmental and engineering leaders and the intellectual capital returned combines innovation and environmental awareness."