Making event giveaways more sustainable

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Making event giveaways more sustainable

When the University of Hull’s Knowledge Transfer Partnerships team challenged us to create a thought-provoking, green giveaway for their 10 year celebration event, the Aura Innovation Centre team rose to the challenge.

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Celebrating partnerships

The University of Hull’s Knowledge Exchange team were marking 10 years of providing KTPs – Knowledge Transfer Partnerships, a collaboration between industry and academia. They were holding an event at the Aura Innovation Centre to celebrate this milestone, and wanted to create a giveaway item for event attendees that would be thought-provoking, sustainable, and would also highlight the sort of innovation that KTP projects can bring about. They also wanted something that was produced locally, to celebrate the Humber’s role in innovation, and that would be useful, so it wasn’t just used once. They asked the Aura Innovation Centre team to help tick off this long list of requirements.



Brian Houston,
InventX Manager, Aura Innovation Centre


Thinking outside the box

InventX Manager Brian Houston relished the challenge of producing something so bespoke. He chose to highlight two separate kinds of innovation which KTPs can produce: materials innovation and process innovation.

He chose to produce a business card holder for the event – this would be useful for delegates, and also gave the event organisers a chance to put their own information inside so people could contact them in the future. As well as being of practical use, the item would also be used repeatedly, rather than being single-use.

The materials innovation came out in the material used in the card holders. Brian decided to use algae-based PLA – a form of plant-based plastic made from remediated algae. Not only is plant-based plastic more sustainable than plastics made from oil, but using algae, which is collected from natural environments such as lakes, can help prevent toxic algal blooms, which damage ecosystems and harm aquatic life.

Process innovation came in through the use of innovative PolyJet 3D printing. This is printing using inkjet technology, but in 3D. This revolutionary new process allows for 3D printing across the full colour spectrum, multiple materials to be used in the same print, and also enables very fine, detailed printing.


Perfect partners

After being designed by the AIC team, the card holders were produced locally by printers Xtrude, a new company formed by two University of Hull alumni.

The printed business card holders were very popular at the event, with both event organisers and attendees showing great interest in both the item and the processes involved in creating them.

Having a sustainable and reusable item as a giveaway underlines the commitment by the University to green choices, and also practically demonstrates the innovation and out-of-the-box thinking that the University can provide.

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