October 5-7 the Center for Sustainable Logistics and Supply Chains at Kühne Logistics University hosted in the frame of the EU funded project CREAToR a three-day workshop on plastic recycling for bachelor students. During the “Boot Camp in Sustainability and Plastic Recycling” the students were tasked with designing an innovative collection and disposal systems that fosters closed-loop recycling for household waste. 17 students from 14 different universities participated in the workshop. The event was supported by experts not only from the Kühne Logistics University, but also from EREMA Engineering Recycling Maschinen und Anlagen and the Department of Polymer Engineering at the Fraunhofer Institute for Chemical Technology.
During the first day experts from the field gave lectures on the recycling process, how recycling systems are organized and financed and what the challenges in the current plastic recycling are. During the second day the students put this knowledge into action during an intensive one-day Design Thinking sprint. The students used this innovation method to come up with interesting ideas how to improve the collection experience of plastic waste. As part of the workshop the students interviewed consumers on the street. They all identified that people generally lack knowledge necessary to dispose of the waste correctly. So all three student groups developed ideas that help to support the consumer to correctly sort the trash. The three ideas were presented on the third day to the panel of experts from industry and research. “All three ideas were really interesting. They captured very well the struggle of the consumers to correctly dispose packaging waste.” said Irma Mikonsaari, coordinator of the CREAToR project from Fraunhofer Institute for Chemical Technology.
Taken as a whole the workshop was a great experience for all participants, the students and the experts. The students enjoyed the mixture of theoretical input and hands-on experience they were provided. For the experts it was a great way to get new inspirations and share the expertise collected in the CREAToR project. Everyone enjoyed the opportunity to network and visit Hamburg. “It were three really long and intensive days. However, the students were highly motivated and overall it was a great experience” added Moritz Jäger-Roschko, PhD student at the Kühne Logistics University who organized the event.