Open Innovation Challenge unearths promising solutions to plastic problem in horticulture

Technology that can convert plastic into usable fuels is among the cutting-edge innovations that have been presented during the Agtech and Logistic Hub’s latest Open Innovation Challenge. 

There are 72 innovators, from companies to researchers, involved in the challenge that aims to reduce the amount of inorganic waste used in the horticulture sector, particularly plastic. 

Statistics show that plastic is a huge contributor of waste, with Australian agriculture consuming an estimated 90,000 tonnes of it each year with only seven percent recycled. 

While the sector has been focused on improving sustainability practices, the reality is that Australian producers have few commercially viable alternatives to the heavy use of plastics on farm and single-use plastics in consumer packaging. 

A pressing priority for the sector is to provide alternatives to the use and management of plastics across its supply chains. 

That’s why the Agtech and Logistics Hub is running the Open Innovation Challenge. 

Agtech and Logistics Hub Director Thomas Hall said he was confident that the challenge would produce a viable solution to bring down the amount of inorganic waste used in the horticulture sector. 

“A number of those involved in the challenge have presented some amazing innovations, which are now being assessed,” Mr Hall said. 

These innovations include: 

  • Plastic Pirates technology of mobile pyrolysis plants that can convert most types of plastic into usable fuels 
  • Arable Field Research’s new option for moisture retention and weed control to replace existing plastic film and mulch used as bed covers in agriculture 
  • Novum Energy’s Thermo-Vacuum Recovery (TVR) technology whereby rubber, such as tyres and conveyer belts, and plastics are converted into clean, carbon credit-worthy, saleable, low emission products. 

Validated findings from the Open Innovation Challenge will be on show during a forum in early September. 

EVENT: Application of Digital Technologies to enhance decision making in agriculture

Event: Telstra VANTAGE

Open Innovation Challenge unearths promising solutions to plastic problem in horticulture