Scotland’s young innovators to go head to head to tackle the global plastic crisis at Curiosity Live 2018 | Glasgow Chamber of Commerce
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Scotland’s young innovators to go head to head to tackle the global plastic crisis at Curiosity Live 2018

Two teams of young Scots aged 14 to 20 are preparing to go head to head at this year’s Curiosity Live – a three-day event at Glasgow Science Centre to celebrate research, innovation and creativity starting on 9 November. The teams will be pitching their game-changing ideas to tackle plastics waste in Scotland’s largest entertainment venue – The SSE Hydro which is a Scottish Event Campus venue. 

The teams – Saving Scotland’s Seas and The FanPlastic 5 – were the shortlisted finalists at VentureJam 2018, which took place from 19 to 21 October. 

Now in its fourth year, VentureJam - delivered by Glasgow City of Science and Innovation and Young Scot - is the pioneering youth enterprise strand of VentureFest Scotland, the national festival of discovery, innovation and entrepreneurship. 

This year VentureJam organisers set a theme of ‘The Plastics Innovation Challenge’, which saw 40 young Scots explore one of the biggest global challenges of our time and come up with radical ideas on how to reduce plastic pollution and its environmental impact in Scotland’s thriving events and entertainment sector.   

BBC’s ground-breaking Blue Planet television series has highlighted the devastating effects of plastic pollution and the current model of product creation and disposal. VentureJam participants were asked to devise innovative solutions to a real-world plastics business challenge for The SSE Hydro which sees one million visitors each year. 

The young people’s ideas focussed on addressing the problem of people unwittingly ruining batches of recyclable waste with waste water, food and non-recyclable coloured plastics. 

The ideas from the winning teams were: an interactive, smart recycling bin for plastic cups/bottles which processes the plastic to reduce contamination by draining any remaining liquid (Saving Scotland’s Seas) and a juke box, incorporating reverse vending technology, in which you can deposit your plastic cups/bottles and in return allows you to vote for which encore song you would like the performing band to play (The FanPlastic 5). 

For the first time the winning team could get to see their innovation solutions put in to practice, with The SSE Hydro team willing to implement the winning ideas in a bid to lead the way in tackling plastics waste in the events and entertainment sector.   

The winning team will also have their ideas showcased at Blue Planet II Live in Concert at The SSE Hydro in Glasgow on 21 March 2019 and attend the show as special VIP guests. 

Judges at Curiosity Live are Dr Duncan Booker, Sustainable Glasgow Manager & Chief Resilience Officer, Glasgow City Council; Leona Seaton, Programme Director, Developing the Young Workforce Glasgow; Lindsay Ackers, Public Relations Executive, Scottish Event Campus; Tom Craig, Senior Policy Executive, Scottish Government; and Jill Farrell, Chief Operating Officer, Zero Waste Scotland. The Scottish Government Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, Roseanna Cunningham, said: “Plastic pollution is one of the biggest global challenges of our time. While we all have a role to play now, our environment’s future is in the hands of the next generation, and VentureJam provides an important platform on which young people can spark real ideas on how we can tackle the very urgent issue of plastic waste. 

 “It’s extremely encouraging to see young people taking an active role in the fight to protect our environment, especially during our Year of Young People, and I look forward to hearing more as the finalists progress to Curiosity Live in November.” 

Callum Blackburn, Head of Policy, Zero Waste Scotland, said: "It's fantastic to see Scotland's young people engaging proactively with the fight against climate change. Young people have the biggest stake in protecting our environment so it’s great to see young minds taking on the big issue of plastic waste.”

Mark Laidlaw, Director of Operations, Scottish Event Campus said: “Initiatives such as VentureJam are so important to engage the next generation and help them to understand and contribute to real-life issues. At The SSE Hydro, we are delighted to be able to support VentureJam. It aligns well with our core business values at Scottish Event Campus and we are very excited to see what the teams come up with. We are always looking at ways to increase our sustainability credentials and managing plastic usage is a key part of that – to have Scotland’s young people play a part in our journey is incredibly special.”

Louise Macdonald, Chief Executive of Young Scot, said: "VentureJam continues to go from strength to strength and I’m always incredibly inspired by those who participate. Seeing Scotland’s young people truly invested in making a change to protect the environment is something we should all be immensely proud of.” 

VentureJam 2018 was supported by Young Scot, Scottish Government, Zero Waste Scotland, Glasgow City Council, Developing the Young Workforce, Social Mobility Foundation, Glasgow Science Centre and Glasgow City of Science and Innovation. For more information, visit or

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