SD College start-up wins plastic challenge hackathon

EichhoTech moots alternative to plastic nursery pots

EichhoTech, a student start-up at Sanatana Dharma (SD) College, Alappuzha, has been chosen as one of the four national-level winners of the India Plastic Challenge – Hackathon 2021 under the student category.

India Plastic Challenge 2021 was a platform for students and young innovators to put forth their ideas or showcase solutions aimed at reducing single-use plastics (SUPs), leading the nation towards a circular economy. It was organised by the Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change in association with the German agency for international cooperation (GIZ) as technical partner and the Climate Collective Foundation as the challenge partner.

Water hyacinth pots

EichhoTech has suggested the use of nursery and indoor pots from water hyacinth pulp as an alternative to plastic pots. The idea got them the winner’s tag under the focal theme ‘Elimination of Single-Use Plastics’ aimed at providing affordable alternatives and reducing dependence on plastics.

The start-up team, which bagged the prize, included Anoop Kumar V., Haree Krishna, Arya S., Lakshmi K. Babu and Nivedita N. Prabhu. They were selected as winners from 138 applicants after rigorous shortlisting, mentoring and pitching sessions spread over four months. The prize carries a purse of ₹1 lakh and a certificate.

The start-up had bagged the Regional Rural Innovation Award at the Rural Innovators’ Meet 2021 organised by the Kerala State Council for Science, Technology and Environment. Established in 2019, the start-up has received funding from the Kerala Development and Innovation Strategic Council under its flagship project Young Innovators Programme 2019-22 as well as the seed grant from the Kerala University Business Innovation and Incubation Centre during 2021.

Value-added products

EichhoTech is specialising in the design and development of value-added products from the invasive aquatic weed, water hyacinth. Their innovations include hand-made paper-based products, home décor items, lampshades, tabletop calendars and exclusive designer products from dried stem of water hyacinth.

G. Nagendra Prabhu, principal investigator, Centre for Research on Aquatic Resources, is the mentor of the team.

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