$20k design challenge for e-waste

Ideas for new ways to manage Australia’s growing electronic waste problem are the subject of a design competition now accepting entries.

The National Gallery of Victoria, in partnership Creative Victoria, is running the third Victorian Design Challenge, which tasks designers with responding to urgent, “real world” problems.

Electronic waste comprises discarded electronic devices including computers, large household appliances and consumer electronics. The amount of electronic waste produced both in Australia and globally has risen at quickly, and the recycling or disposal of the waste is often hazardous and environmentally damaging. Developed countries generally export much e-waste to developing countries, where it is recycled, scrapped, sent to landfill or burnt.

According to the competition website, the “E-Waste Challenge aims to highlight the capacity and responsibility of designers to contribute to shifting behaviour, raising awareness, redesigning products, or devising smart end-of-life solutions that reduce the negative impacts of e-waste.”

Electronic waste at Agbogbloshie, Ghana, a notorious dumping ground for such material.

Electronic waste at Agbogbloshie, Ghana, a notorious dumping ground for such material.

Image: Muntaka Chasant

A $20,000 prize will be made to the winning entry by a professional, with a $5,000 prize for the best entry by a tertiary student.

The Victorian government banned e-waste from landfill in July, with dedicated e-waste collection and storage facilities set up across the state.

Recycling in many countries was disrupted in 2018 when China banned the importation of many kinds of recyclable waste, including e-waste. Australia’s waste management industry, which lacks the capacity to recycle most of the recycling collected at the kerbside, has struggled to manage the issue.

Entries will be evaluated by a jury chaired by Craig Reucassel, host of the ABC’s War on Waste, will shortlist five submissions from the professional category and three submissions from each student category to go through to Round Two, which will involve a presentation at the NGV during Melbourne Design Week. The student category of the competition is open only to Victorian students, while the professional category is national.

For more information, go here.

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