In October I introduced you to 2nd Annual Global EcoEasy Challenge sponsored by Staples and the Rochester Institute of Technology's Golisano Institute for Sustainability. The contest received 86 entries from 27 student teams in eight different countries. The public was invited to vote on their favorite entries last month and then Staples chose seven finalists. Each of these finalists presented their ideas to a panel of judges and a team from the University of Cincinnati was named the 2011 Staples Global EcoEasy Challenge winner.

Team Silver Monkeys from the University of Cincinnati came out on top with their surge protector design. The surge protector is made from eco-friendlier materials, is small enough to be placed on the desk and it will alert you if the device has been using energy for an extended period of time.

The team receives a $25,000 first-place prize, a stipend for concept development and if the concept is brought to market Staples will pay the team royalties on product sales.

“All of the students, who came from around the world and represented their schools so well, give Staples and its partners in sustainability great hope for the future,” said Mark Buckley, vice president of environmental affairs, Staples.  “Their fresh ideas and innovative spirit are an inspiration to us at Staples, our environmentally conscious customers and the greater business community.” Source: Staples

Kyle Koch, Brandon Leedy, James Matchett and Brandon Leedy joined forces for the Team Silver Monkeys design. Although the surge protector idea is great, the team didn’t stop there. Another product designed by the team was named as a runner-up – the Folio. The reusable binder is made out of a material that can expand in size to hold large amounts of paper or decrease in size for smaller volumes. Space in a student’s backpack is limited and the Folio can replace a three-ring binder without taking up a fixed amount of space regardless of contents.

Three of the seven product finalists were from the University of Cincinnati. Students from the Indian Institute of Technology Madras (India), Nanyang Technological University (Singapore), Dublin Institute of Technology (Ireland) and Tsinghua University (China) also made the finals. Learn more about each of their products by visiting the 2011 Staples Global EcoEasy Challenge finalists website.

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