2016 DC Climathon: Hack the Waste Stream!



Are you up for the challenge?

District of Columbia residents throw away tons of durable goods every year - items such as appliances, clothes, mattresses, and other products meant to last several years or more. For the most part, discarded durable goods haven’t reached their maximum lifespan and could be kept in circulation either through refurbishing or repurposing them. How might we extend the life of durable goods in DC and create economic and environmental equity for Washingtonians? Come develop your ideas at the DC Climathon!

- Engage in Social Entrepreneurship

Come create a fundable startup to divert durable household goods and personal items from DC’s waste stream and make them into something someone will love to use. Teams may use technology, micro-enterprise, or other methods in their solutions and are encouraged to address socioeconomic and/or health disparities within vulnerable communities in the District.


- Develop green leadership

Tackle the challenge of how to sustainably reuse bulk waste in the District of Columbia and reduce the amount of goods that end up in landfills or incinerators. At the same time, your ideas will reduce the cost and carbon footprint association with product manufacturing and waste hauling.


- Learn Design Thinking

Engage with Design Thinking practitioners to come up with new ideas to DC’s most pressing challenges. Coaches skilled in ideation, rapid prototyping, and project implementation will be on hand to teach you Design Thinking methodologies and guide your work.

Why participate?

Savvy socially-minded entrepreneurs, innovators, and solution finders are invited to participate in the DC Climathon, whether or not they have a clear solution in mind. Teams will be formed on site and business ideas developed in real time. Existing pilot ideas are welcome. Please note that all teams must have at least one GW-affiliated member (student or alum). 

- What’s a hack?

A hack is a quick challenge that creates new solutions to a pressing problem. This hack will ask participants to use data, business acumen, and ingenuity to create fledgling start-ups that use durable goods in novel ways.

- Are there prizes?

The winner of DC Climathon will receive an automatic advancement to the GW New Venture Challenge and ongoing mentorship through January 2017. Other prizes may also be offered.

What will happen at the event?

The 2016 DC Climathon will be held at the George Washington University School of Business in Duques Hall. The 24-hour event will run from 3 pm on Friday, October 28 to 3 pm on Saturday, October 29, and will provide training, coaching, and judging for participating teams.
Friday, October 28, 2016
  3:00 pm Opening remarks
Defining the design problem
  4:00 pm Team-forming
  6:00 pm Parallel clinics: data, prototyping
  6:30 pm Dinner
  9:00 pm Evening yoga
Saturday, October 29, 2016
  12:00 am Video conference with Climathon events in other cities
  7:30 am Sunrise yoga
  8:00 am Breakfast
  10:00 am Parallel clinics: business plans, pitches
  12:30 pm Lunch/Project presentations (10 mins each)
  2:30 pm Award ceremony
  3:00 pm Program end

Ready to commit? Join our buzz campaign. Best entry wins $100!

Here’s how: Make a 30-60 second video about how to launch a new and exciting business by reusing durable goods like appliances, mattresses, and clothing. Send a Dropbox link of your video to oie@gwu.edu by noon on September 30. OIE will upload the submissions to YouTube, and the GW community will vote for the winning video the week of October 3-7. The video with the most votes will win a $100 American Express gift card. To be eligible, entries must have only one author who is currently a GW student registered for the 2016 DC Climathon.