As Poslovni Dnevnik/Lucija Spiljak writes, organised by the Croatian Association for Creativity and Innovation (HUKI), the global Social Impact Award (SIA) programme will be held in Croatia for the third time.
The programme is implemented in more than 15 countries across Europe, Asia and Africa and includes more than 8,000 students and young people a year, and details about applications will be known soon. One of the winners of last year’s edition of the SIA programme is the Split startup UniCompoST, which develops products that combine biowaste treatment and the home cultivation of plants, such as C-Eco for Home.
As one of the founders, Zvonimir Jukic, explained, the Split startup UniCompoST was created on the basis of a project while studying at the Faculty of Chemical Technology in Split. From the very beginning, the focus has been on management, biodegradable waste and the desire to encourage the population to process biowaste in their own households through technological solutions tailored to end users.
The team consists of eight members who cover everything necessary for the development of the startup into a sustainable business entity; from business and operational development, marketing and product development to education and customer support. They develop startups in their free time because they are all employees in various companies and institutions, but they share the vision to “turn” something into a company to which they will all dedicate themselves and in which everyone will find employment.
“The goal is to develop a sales network that will enable the availability of products throughout the Republic of Croatia, and also abroad. Next month, the devices will be installed in five educational institutions of different levels in Split and the city’s surroundings through the project ”Raising awareness of the role of composting” implemented by the Sunce Split Association. This will be a good indicator of the interest of one of our target groups – educational institutions.
The processing of biowaste at its place of origin achieves many benefits, both directly for the user as an individual and for the community as a whole. For example, if the household cycle closes, less biowaste will be disposed of over time, fewer containers will be needed in public areas, less biowaste will end up in landfills, and utilities themselves will need smaller waste collection cycles.
Collectively, the move will reduce the greenhouse effect, eliminate soil and groundwater pollution, and cumulatively reduce the environmental and carbon footprints of users and the community in general. Therefore, in the development of the C-Eco for Home device, we’ve added the function of indoor plant cultivation, precisely to enable the user to close the loop in the circulation of substances in everyday life.
The idea is for the user to process biowaste, get organic fertiliser, use it in plant cultivation, and consume the fruits of that cultivation (cultivation is adapted to mostly leafy plants). C-Eco for Home has two variations – a model for schools that is primarily educational in nature and the functionality of which satisfies many educational outcomes in vocational subjects such as nature, biology and chemistry.
The second variation is intended for households, it’s also educational in nature but with a higher volume of processing that allows the household to really eliminate biowaste as a fraction of waste. Both models are based on the use of effective microorganisms whose use doesn’t create unpleasant odors during processing. The product comes in a starter pack that consists of the initial amount of effective microorganisms, sowing substrate, organic plant nutrition products and selected plant seeds,” explained the Split startup UniCompoST’s founder Zvonimir Jukić.
Product testing with test users and collecting feedback is the phase they’re currently in, and those interested can try out the device in the showroom of the Krizevci Climate Innovation Laboratory.
They also launched the project “UniCompoST Classroom” funded by the European Solidarity Force, which aims to develop an innovative programme of environmentally friendly learning for primary and secondary schools to educate students about a comprehensive waste management system in a practical and fun way and strengthen educational institutions in environmentally oriented teaching.
“Through this project, we’re also developing a website where various interactive video educations will be free and available to students and the general population. Through this website we want to generate and gather more knowledge in the field of waste management, the circular economy, sustainable development and environmental protection – edu.unicompost.com.hr. The site will be open by the end of February,” announced Jukic.
He believes that people today are increasingly aware of climate change and waste management, which is manifested through many formal and informal initiatives and organisations aimed at launching certain processes and changing the community image on climate and waste.
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