A team of young people who designed a prototype ‘reverse vending machine’ – where you insert plastic bottles instead of throwing them away – were rewarded with a trip to the Hydro in Glasgow to watch the Blue Planet live show.

The enterprising team of five created a cardboard version of a reverse vending machine which invites people to place used plastic bottles into a hole – and then select a track that they wish the band playing at the venue to be the ‘encore’ tune at the end of the performance.

Their design won the VentureJam competition – delivered by Glasgow City of Science and Innovation and Young Scot – the pioneering youth enterprise strand of VentureFest Scotland, the annual festival of discovery and innovation.

And for their efforts, they were rewarded with a night at the Blue Planet II Live In Concert at The SSE Hydro on Monday night; the show is an engaging live series of events following on from the ground-breaking BBC documentary – which highlighted the effects of plastic pollution on the earth – narrated by Sir David Attenborough.

One of the winners, Christopher Winters, 18, said: “VentureJam has been a fantastic experience and I’ve been delighted to work with my teammates to win the amazing prize of coming to Blue Planet Live In Concert at The SSE Hydro – thanks to Young Scot and the venue for helping to create such a brilliant experience. We are really happy that people are thinking becoming more sustainable and how they can reduce their impact on the environment.”

Louise Macdonald, Chief Executive of Young Scot, said: “The innovation we see at VentureJam can have a powerful effect on the way we see sustainability and the challenges it presents. Scotland’s young people are our innovators for now and the future and these ideas are the creative solutions the world can be inspired by.”

Mark Laidlaw, Director of Operations at the SEC, said: “We were delighted to support the VentureJam initiative – sustainability is a hot topic just now and it’s fantastic to see so many youngsters getting involved in the programme.”

VentureJam 2018 inspired youngsters from all over Scotland to enter the challenge which ultimately saw teams of four or five working together to solve the issue of single use plastic in the events industry. 

Working without financial and commercial boundaries, the groups came up with a huge range of ideas from innovative recycling signage, mascots and educational campaigns around waste disposal. 

The winning idea came from team Fan-plastic Five, which created the Recycling Jukebox. The concept takes the original reverse vending machine model and combines it with the incentive of choosing your favourite encore track for the gig in the Hydro if you use it.

Fan-plastic Five consists of Mhairi McCann, Mary Olaleye, Christopher Winters, Mairaed Reid and Caitlin Ayres. Their prize included a tour of the iconic SSE Hydro, a meal at Clydebuilt and tickets to see Blue Planet II Live In Concert. To top it off, an inspirational video of the VentureJam event featuring the winning solution and ending with strong message urging viewers to take action on plastic, was shown during the interval to the sell-out audience in the bowl.