With guidance from Young Scot and a team of expert mentors, the teams went head-to-head pitching their cutting-edge ideas to tackle the issue of food waste in Scotland’s biggest food court in St. Enoch Centre in Glasgow.
The panel of judges included Dr Duncan Booker, Chief Resilience Officer at Glasgow City Council, Simon McKeating, Sector Manager at Zero Waste Scotland, Shirley Aitken, Operations Manager at St. Enoch Centre as well as international innovation heavy-weight Morgan Walker, Head of the Creative Play Lab at LEGO.
Founded by Young Scot and Glasgow City of Science and Innovation in 2015, VentureJam took place early in November in Glasgow Science Centre and is an opportunity to showcase young people that are truly passionate about helping people and the planet by innovating a brighter future.
An estimated 1.3 billion tonnes of food is wasted around the world every year. A major contributor to the climate emergency, Scottish Government has set a target of reducing its food waste by 33 per cent by 2025, which would have the same benefit as taking one in five of our cars off Scotland’s roads.
This year, VentureJam participants were challenged to co-design new solutions that prevent food waste at St.Enoch Centre, as part of the Centre’s environmental commitments.
Seven teams of young people pitched their innovative solutions with three teams coming out on top – BAAD, Lettuce Thrive and Waste Invaders.
After a nail-biting final at the Summit, BAAD were chosen as the winning team – who had developed a game-changing solution which involves the implementation of colour coded food trays and bins to make recycling simple.
Additionally, they developed an app prototype with a QR code which allows shoppers to redeem points for rewards every time they performed behaviour which reduced food waste such as bringing in a reusable container for leftover foods.
The app would also provide insights on how their actions have reduced carbon emissions or the amount of waste going to landfill.
Team BAAD will get the opportunity too see their original solutions come to life, with St. Enoch Centre eager to implement the winning ideas to help them lead the way in reducing food waste within the catering industry.
Abbie Currie, member of team BAAD, said: “VentureJam was such an amazing opportunity to learn more about food waste and its effects on climate change.
“We were so excited about our idea and can’t believe it will become a reality! The experience has been a huge learning for us and knowing this will make a real change makes us really proud.”
Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said: “Through our new Climate Change Act, Scotland has in place the most stringent climate legislation of any country in the world. Bold and innovative action will be required to achieve net-zero emissions by 2045 and everyone – government, business, communities and individuals – will need to do their bit.
“Food waste is a significant contributor to climate change and VentureJam has been an excellent example of how imaginative people can respond to the harmful effects of food waste on our environment.
“In one weekend these young people produced creative, practical and meaningful actions to tackle food waste which I hope inspires others to do the same and help Scotland reach its 33 per cent food waste reduction target by 2025.”
Anne Ledgerwood, general manager of St. Enoch Centre, said: “We were really pleased to host VentureJam at St. Enoch Centre this year and were hugely impressed by the innovative ideas and creativity shown by each team.
“It’s fantastic to see Young Scot bring young people together through VentureJam to encourage their passion for the environment and come up with solutions to the very real issue of tackling food waste.”
Louise Macdonald, chief executive of Young Scot, said: “VentureJam gives young people the power to create fresh and innovative solutions to real-world problems. Seeing Scotland’s young people truly invested in helping to reduce food waste is something we should all be immensely proud of.”
Iain Gulland, chief executive of Zero Waste Scotland, said: “The news has been dominated in recent months by young people showing their passion for the planet and commitment to protecting it.
“By working to tackle food waste, VentureJam participants are making a difference in an area that is a huge contributor to carbon emissions and a cause of the climate emergency. Their enthusiasm, ideas and readiness to take responsibility for our future is inspiring.
“Along with the partners involved in the project, VentureJam can help lead to the positive changes Scotland needs to make, with St. Enoch Centre becoming a benchmark for how we deal with our food waste.
Dr Duncan Booker, chief resilience officer at Glasgow City Council said: “It’s more important than ever that we foster and harness the creativity and commitment of Scotland’s young people to help address the ecological challenges we face.
“Glasgow and Scotland have both declared a climate emergency and we know that we need to build a more sustainable future right now.
“It’s a future in which we radically shift our attitudes and behaviours towards waste and food waste in particular. Our journey away from a throwaway society begins with the sort of innovation that VentureJam brings to the fore.”