Sustainable packet drinks, durian shell cupsleeves, a food sustainability game…These are all projects by students from the NUS Ridge View Residential College (RVRC) that clinched key awards at Sembcorp Marine’s Green Wave Environmental Care Competition 2019.
The Green Wave Environmental Care Competition is an annual competition organised by Sembcorp Marine for schools of all levels in Singapore. It aims to inculcate environmental awareness and appreciation in its participants, as well as allow them to acquire a concern for the environment.
The year-long competition saw some 1,000 students from primary to tertiary institutions taking part. The RVRC teams won the first prize of $10,000, the second prize of $6,000, the Merit Award of $1,000, the Team Award and two Good Presenter Awards.
While the awards ceremony, initially slated for March, had to be cancelled due to the COVID-19 situation, the RVRC teams won praise for their innovative solutions.
The team focusing on “Sustainable Packet Drinks” won the top tertiary award with their straw-less packet drink prototype with a tube attached to the sealing flap. Their design allows users including people with disabilities to enjoy the drink, and at the same time eliminates the need for plastic straws. The team also conducted a public survey and met with representatives from Yeo’s Singapore, receiving positive responses for their prototype.
NUS Arts and Social Sciences Year 2 student Nabilah Bte Bahrim, who was a member of the team that developed the drink packet design reflected, "Working on this product taught me many things. Among them, that nothing comes easy; looking at the final result, it seems bizarre to me that something so simple-looking took so many sleepless nights to make. It really helps to remind you that no object should be taken for granted because all of it came from someone's concentration and effort, and that is something."
Clinching the second prize was another prototype design, this one created from durian shells. The team that titled their project “Closing the loop, repurposing durian shells for insulated cup sleeves”, created cup holders for takeaway hot drinks using durian shells. Through their invention, the team hoped to offer a solution that addresses the waste disposal issue where 70 to 85 per cent of the durian is discarded as shells. Through a series of workshops to different members of the public, they also taught participants how to create their own durian cup sleeves and increased their awareness of durian waste.
Year 2 NUS Architecture student Joshua Woon said, “The biggest achievement here lies in the successful attempt to create a prototype out of durian shell and repurpose the waste creating a closed loop economy in eight weeks. As our product promotes sustainability and environmental conservation, we hope that more products would be able to latch onto this idea and minimise waste that would head to our landfill in Singapore.”
Also addressing the issue of food waste was the group that developed “TASTY, engaging youths in food sustainability card game”. The creators of the game, which took the Merit Award in the competition, aimed to increase learner’s engagement and learning by using real-life food sustainability scenarios. Players deploy solutions to solve the food crisis collectively. This game was later incorporated in the GEQ1917 Understanding and Critiquing Sustainability module for RVRC Year 1 students.
NUS Science Year 2 student Rheia Tay, a member of the TASTY team, said that the experience was a challenging and arduous one. “We went through a lot of trials, failure and disheartened spirits, but I'm glad my team and I pulled through. The experience of presenting to the judging panel was a very enriching one. Overall, this was something I am glad to have the privilege to experience,” she said.
By NUS Ridge View Residential College