The team from the ORT Argentina Belgrano Campus in Buenos Aires devised the Smart Garbage project, which advises when trash bins should be collected by using a device connected to the bin. It makes garbage collection more effective, helping to reduce traffic and costs. The project includes a home version, which reminds you how full the can is and suggests locations to empty the trash.

The Belgrano team collected the first prize in the 2021 World ORT Taub Young Entrepreneurship Program (YEP) Final for southern hemisphere schools. YEP helps teams of students design a product or service which solves a social problem, with milestone presentations and pitches to judges throughout the year.

For the YEP course, ORT teachers worldwide deliver a 30-week curriculum, providing students aged 14-16 with a thorough introduction to the world of innovation, technology and entrepreneurship. The course simulates the real-world process of developing an initial idea through market research, analyzing risks and opportunities, manufacturing a prototype, marketing and finally pitching their business plan.

It is the first time the competition has been run specifically for southern hemisphere teams and accommodates the timing of their academic year. In May, a group of teenagers from the ORT Liceo Renzo Levi school in Rome won the northern hemisphere version.

At the start of the live final, Robert Taub, World ORT Secretary and lead sponsor of the YEP program, said: “It’s a great joy for me to see all the students. When I was approached by ORT I jumped on the idea because I’m a great believe in innovation and this young entrepreneur program is to promote business innovation.

“What you are doing now is great – it’s the thinking process about how to develop a product. The best reward would be if one day one of the innovations you have presented is commercialized. I wish you all good luck.”

The Argentine project caught the judges’ attention thanks to its innovative approach. The team members explained: “This product aims to solve the problem of traffic congestion and contamination. Garbage trucks are usually very slow and they tend to cause traffic jams. With Smart Garbage these vehicles will only go to the necessary bins. If the traffic decreases, the pollution does as well, so this is helpful for the environment.

“In addition to tackling contamination, our product speeds up the garbage flow in crowded places to reduce smell and prevents rat infestations.”

The team said the device would be marketed to small stores, restaurants, large families and for the industrial version to commercial centers, airports and local authorities. Future plans for the device would see it developed to automatically separate reusable materials, optimizing and automating recycling processes.