When three senior engineering students collaborated for a class assignment, they had no idea it would lead to much more than a letter grade.
But before the sustainable engineering course held its final meeting of the semester, Daniel Marek, Evan Gwynne Davies and Michael Pasciuto’s recycling initiative, SCRAPP, had already secured them an invitation to the Environmental Protection Agency’s America Recycles Innovation Fair and the launch of a provisional patent.
“The experience has been invaluable for our platform’s development, through networking with investors, organizations and other exhibitors,” says Marek. “We thoroughly enjoyed being able to put forward our concept and gain insight from experts in the recycling industry.”
The venture is a consumer led recycling initiative that provides reward for solid municipal waste. It aims to improve rates of recycling and minimize contamination by allowing business, institutions and individuals to log their recycled materials and earn points for recycling appropriately. The points can be redeemed and applied as gifts to charities, tax reductions and purchasing products that the group plans to develop from almost entirely recycled material.
In researching the concept, the group came across an EPA offer to submit an application to feature new recycling ideas at the fair in Washington D.C., which was held on Nov. 14 at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center. Marek says the EPA saw a great deal of potential in the idea and invited them to showcase it at the conference. There, they got to meet Andrew Walker, administrator of the EPA, in a moment that was captured on the EPA’s Instagram story.
The idea was received so well at the event that the group is moving forward to make it a reality.
“The opportunity to attend a national conference at this stage with an idea that was so well received has given us a fantastic amount of confidence to push forward with our plans,” says Marek. “We plan to file for our provisional patent and begin app development before Christmas.”
Marek says the group has multiple universities and businesses interested in piloting the initiative and is in talks with other organizations interested in integrating the group’s technology into existing systems to gain further insight.