Their names are The GreenWatcher, Giunko, Hangreen and OrtiAlti, and they are four startup companies who intend to change the course, preferably in an eco-direction, of our everyday lives. Autogrill selected them, and presented them at Expo Milano 2015 in the Coca-Cola Pavilion as sustainable innovative projects capable of contributing to the future of food, and more. Here is what they propose:
The classic app that makes life easier. At least during the crucial moment of differentiated waste disposal. In Italy especially, it’s not always easy to work out which container to use for certain waste items, especially when they contain various materials. This is further complicated by the differences between one municipality and another, especially for people travelling or temporarily in a different city. This matter was the subject of a discussion between four engineers from Bologna during a long car journey, and in the end they hit on a solution, brilliantly combining two elements easily available to most citizens: the barcode, now present on all industrial products, and the smartphone with its geolocation function. Thus was born the Junker app, which by scanning the barcode on a product’s packaging (its database already contains over 1 million items), and determining which municipality you are in, tells you how to dispose of its various components.
If the product scanned is not recognized, the user sends a photo of the barcode to the app and receives an answer in real time, while this reference is added to the database. Junker currently has 6,000 users and 30,000 searches made, and has received numerous prizes for innovation: from Innovami in 2013 to Call4Ideas at Forum PA 2015. Hera, the multi-utility of the Emilia Romagna Region which serves 3.5 million citizens, has inserted this technology in its Rifiutologo… a Regional platform for waste services.
The startup’s business model offers its service free to citizens, while it charges a subscription fee to subcontracted service companies or Municipalities… which can also use it to communicate to its citizens the calendar for waste collection and other useful information.
We have already mentioned this startup various times, on account of the large number of awards it has collected: from Legambiente Italia’s Premio Innovazione Amica dell’Ambiente to the first prize in the We-Women for Expo competition.
OrtiAlti (meaning ‘High Vegetable Plots’) is a social enterprise founded by architects Elena Caragnani and Emanuela Saporito, whose mission is to create vegetable plots on the roofs of companies, condominiums and public buildings. It is continuing this mission: last December, on the roof of an industrial factory from the 1930s in Turin, assigned by the Municipality to a cooperative which works with disadvantaged people, it created a roof vegetable plot which also supplies a restaurant in the same building. Meanwhile, the inauguration is approaching of a project for the Carrefour Shopping Center in Nichelino (a province of Turin), whose produce will be distributed to customers. The next development could well be the development of aquaponic systems.
This startup too is focused on green initiatives, here related to automated vertical gardens. The modules proposed (in three different formats) are built with eco-sustainable materials (wood and water-tanks in recycled plastic) and are equipped with special sensors for checking the parameters relating to plants cultivated. An electronic card connected to a smartphone app communicates the data to the user.
This is another startup which has won numerous awards: First Prize Startup Digital Media, Special Prize Sardinia Research, Special Prize Make at Cube (the prize from the Avanzi Fund, where the company is currently incubated), Special Prize DoveConviene.it and the first prize at the Startup Weekend Cagliari 2015. Would you like to meet the four young creatives who started it? From October 2 to 4 they’ll be in Green City Milano.
Having surveyed 7,000 companies and attracted thousands of signed-up users, this company describes itself as the world’s biggest global platform for checking on the degree of eco-sustainability of individual companies.
First launched in Florence, The Green Watcher in its bilingual Italian-English version is now used in Europe, the US and South America. The platform is fed by information sent by its users (EcoOpinions) while the measurement of the companies’ environmental sustainability (EcoEvaluations) is carried out in self-service modality – online and directly by company owners or management – and is certified. The platform can be accessed by mobile-friendly devices and as an app.