ITE students win trip to Switzerland with a project to optimize ice use in retail beverages – Mothership.SG
Three students from the Institute for Technical Education (ITE) won a study trip to Switzerland with their solution for sustainability, which led to a significant reduction in water and electricity consumption.
Working with iTea Café, a small and medium-sized enterprise (SME), the students recommended that the café reduce the amount of ice served to customers who buy chilled drinks by 50 percent.
Less ice, please
The winning team consists of ITE College East students Budi Kurniawan Bin Ismail, Nurul Ernisah Lydiawati and Chong Huey Huey, Amber.
Based on their observations at the iTEA Café on their school premises, the team found that customers at the beverage stands often dumped ice residue in their cold drinks, resulting in ice waste.
In an experiment, the students recruited 30 participants who were blindfolded and who tasted the chilled drinks with varying amounts of ice.
“Most of the participants found that it was just right for them to only fill the cup with 50 percent ice,” said Amber, who is now a student at ITE with Budi Higher Nitec Chemical Technology.
“We changed the ladle to a smaller one so that a full scoop of ice is 50 percent of the cup,” she added.
Small change, big impact
“The project resulted in a 14 percent reduction in electricity consumption and a 21 percent reduction in water consumption,” said Budi.
In a year that’s forecasted two tons CO2 -Emissions avoided and 16 kg of water saved for a beverage stand.
“For our project, we don’t need SMEs to spend money or make major changes to their operations. Just changing the amount of ice used is effective enough without creating anything new, ”said Nurul.
“Basically, something small can have a big impact,” said the environmental and marine science student at Republic Polytechnic.
According to the students, the iTea Café owner was pleased that their solution helped them save money without incurring upfront costs or decreasing customer satisfaction.
In order to find an innovative and effective solution, the trio earned a fully funded study trip to Switzerland to study the Swiss sustainability program in 2022.
Sustainability for SMEs
The ITE-SME Climate Change Mitigation Project started in early 2020 and lasted nine months.
Forty-eight students from the three ITE colleges were connected to 15 SMEs to find ways in which these companies could make their business operations more sustainable.
The 15 teams conducted environmental audits for the companies with the help and training of the National Youth Achievement Award Council (NYAA) and support from HSBC Singapore.
The projects also culminated in one ebook, entitled “Shaping a Sustainable Future”.
Other projects include reusing ground coffee as a component in soap and developing sensors to save electricity by limiting temperature fluctuations in freezers.
Sustainability does not increase the costs for companies
According to a study by HSBC, 85 percent of companies see environmental sustainability as a priority, but only 26 percent of companies are motivated to improve operational efficiency and become sustainable.
“Companies, especially SMEs, face a variety of obstacles when it comes to integrating sustainability,” said Wong Kee Joo, CEO of HSBC Singapore.
“Sustainability is perceived as an additional cost,” he added.
On the contrary, SMEs benefit from sustainable practices in terms of cost structure and supply chain operation, said Minister for Sustainability and Environment Grace Fu in her address at the award ceremony.
The 15 projects saved water, fuel, electricity and plastic resources, an annual reduction of 144 tons. is equivalent to CO2 Emissions and saved SMEs a total of S $ 76,000 per year.
Extrapolated to the rest of the SME sector, this could mean a reduction of more than two million tons CO2 per year and a business cost saving of S $ 1.1 billion per year, said Jeff Obbard, professor and advisor on climate change at NYAA.
Top picture from ITE.