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District Entrepreneurs Compete at GW to Create New Economic Ventures While Addressing Global Climate Change

Winning Team Will Advance to Semifinals of the GW New Venture Competition
October 31, 2016
Julia Robey Christian (DOEE): [email protected], (202) 741-0842
Timothy Pierce (GW): [email protected], (202) 994-5647
WASHINGTON (Oct. 31, 2016) – Dozens of social entrepreneurs gathered in the District of Columbia at the George Washington University School of Business for 24 hours this weekend to tackle complex climate and waste management issues as part of the international Climathon. The D.C. event was one of 59 “hackathons” taking place simultaneously in major cities across the planet to develop innovative solutions to address global climate change at the local level.
Six teams presented innovative design solutions to a panel of local experts the afternoon of Saturday, Oct. 29. Four semifinalists were selected to move forward in the competition and will be mentored by teams of coaches. Project proposals included modular furniture and designer clothing created from reused durable goods, college move-out collection and resale, and an electronic appliance salvage service. The winning team will be announced on Dec. 12 and will automatically be entered as a semifinalist in the George Washington University New Venture Competition and will receive mentoring from expert coaches. The D.C. Climathon is a partnership between the George Washington University and the D.C. Department of Energy & Environment.
The D.C. event focused on diverting durable goods—such as furniture and small appliances—from the waste stream and reintroducing them back into the productive economy. Durable goods make up approximately 20 percent of the national waste stream: 51 million tons nationally and approximately 200,000 tons in the District. With only 18 percent of that amount being reused or recycled, the economic and environmental cost of unnecessarily landfilling and incinerating this valuable material is significant. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates $200 billion is spent nationally on disposing of durable goods in addition to the lost economic opportunity for residents, businesses and government. 
Unnecessarily disposing of durable goods in the District also has global consequences. An estimated 41,501 metric tons of greenhouse gases result from this waste, which is the equivalent of taking 8,766 passenger vehicles off the road or powering 4,382 homes for one year. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent by 2032 is a stated goal of the District of Columbia in the Sustainable D.C. and Climate Ready D.C. plans.
For more information on the D.C. Climathon, see For more information on the global Climathon, see