A*STAR Makeathon 2021

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The first ever A*STAR Makeathon is a creative challenge that invites A*STAR staff to accelerate their innovative ideas into prototypes through the process of making. 

This innovation programme will be your opportunity to collaborate with like-minded individuals and create innovative solutions to important problems, all while learning new ways of working and innovating. Most importantly, we want you to have fun while being creative. 

This year, we are taking inspiration from the Singapore Green Plan 2030, a national sustainability movement to drive collective action to tackle climate change, and looking for sustainability solutions, especially in the areas of waste management, plastics, and energy


The first run of A*STAR Makeathon concluded on 8 October 2021 with 3 teams crowned as the winners. We had a total of 9 team shortlisted for Makeathon 2021. 


The 3 teams are currently being supported by A*StartCentral to further develop their prototypes. 

Email ask_asc@hq.a-star.edu.sg for more details regarding other teams.






Smart Recycle


Theme & Challenges

‘Building a more sustainable Singapore: Save Today, Safe Tomorrow.’

Singapore is already feeling the impact of climate change.  We are experiencing hotter weather and heavier rainstorms.  As a low-lying country, Singapore is vulnerable to rising sea levels.  

Singapore has pledged to reduce its emissions intensity by 36% of 2005 levels by 2030. Beyond 2030, we aim to halve emissions from the peak by 2050, and to achieve net zero emissions as soon as viable in the second half of the century. The economy’s largest Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions sources are Industry (46%), Power (39%), and Transport (13%).  

Singapore aims to be a Zero Waste nation powered by a “circular economy”, focused on removing waste from the resource ecosystem and keeping resources in use for as long as possible.  The Government has recently launched the Singapore Green Plan 2030, a national sustainability movement to drive collective action to tackle climate change.  

Alongside large-scale carbon capture and other industrial abatement applications, more sustainability solutions could be co-created between Government, businesses and consumers under the Green Plan.  Businesses should better understand their impact and close the waste loop.  Similarly, consumers have to play a part by changing the way we live, work and play.

Understanding what incentivises and ultimately drives these behavioural changes is as critical to the success of your solution as the use of technology.

Useful links:

Towards Zero Waste

How might we achieve Zero Waste in Singapore by:
1. Helping businesses and households reduce the amount of waste they produce?
2. Helping businesses and households increase their recycling?

Singapore currently operates four waste-to-energy plants to incinerate solid waste and reduce its volume by 90% before it enters our only landfill, Pulau Semakau. This landfill is expected to run out of space by 2035, making waste reduction a strategic and urgent priority for Singapore. 

Singapore's waste management system focuses on two key thrusts – waste minimisation and recycling.  Often, we refer to the 3Rs: Reduce the amount of waste we produce; Reuse things; and Recycle as much as possible.

Under the Zero Waste Masterplan, Singapore aims to reduce waste-to-landfill per capita per day by 30% by 2030.  The latter goal is to be accelerated under the Singapore Green Plan 2030 -- in order to achieve a 20% reduction by 2026.

Singapore has set the 2030 target of increasing our national recycling rate to 70% -- domestic recycling rate to 30% and non-domestic recycling rate to 81% -- under the Sustainable Singapore Blueprint 2015.

The issue of waste management is something that many here take for granted, but it has a massive effect on our health and lifestyle.  The fourth R is Rethink. We must help consumers become more aware of the consequences of their behaviours and their impact on the environment; and therefore, Rethink their actions.  Indeed, more sustainable behaviours start with a change in our mindsets at home.  

Also, all businesses should have the data and insights into their whole supply chain (from sourcing to manufacturing to distribution), as well as the appropriate financial incentives, to help them change the way they do business.

Useful links:
Zero Waste Masterplan
Overview of waste management in Singapore
Solid waste management technology roadmap

The Next Plastic Revolution

How might we minimise plastic waste by:
1. Helping businesses and households reduce the amount of plastic waste they produce?
2. Helping consumers reuse plastic items?
3. Helping businesses and households increase their plastic recycling?

Plastic has revolutionised almost all aspects of our modern lives and business supply chains.  Plastic is also one of the most common forms of waste in Singapore and all around the world.  According to the National Environment Agency (2018), over 900 million kg of plastic waste is discarded every year in Singapore, and a mere 4% of this is recycled.  The volume of single-use plastics (especially in packaging) has surged since the advent of COVID-19.

Some of this plastic waste ends up in the ocean.  Just five of our Asian neighbours - Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, and China - account for almost 60% of all plastics in the ocean.  This is extremely harmful for marine life, particularly if they ingest the plastic.  The World Wildlife Foundation (WWF) Singapore has found that one-quarter of the fish that we consume have plastics in their guts.

Businesses can lead the transformation of how the whole country reduces, reuses and recycles plastics.  For example, they can take greater responsibility for the entire lifecycle of plastics and involve their customers in reusing and recycling their products and packaging.  

As with other forms of waste, the consumer also has the responsibility to rethink his/her individual actions.  The education of the consumer lies in his/her understanding of what and how to change.

Useful link:
Sharing about plastics by WWF
Plastic ACTion (PACT) initiative
RecycleNSave initiative

Power to the People

How might we reduce Singapore’s carbon emissions by helping businesses and households better manage and reduce their energy consumption?

Singapore’s energy consumption increased 15% between 2013 and 2019.  Buildings (residential and non-residential) account for around half of the country’s consumption.  In Southeast Asia, the growth in energy demand is amongst the fastest in the world, and that means increased burning of more fossil fuels.  

Along with the increase in the supply of renewable energy, as outlined in the Green Plan 2030, there is also an urgent need to improve our energy efficiency to reduce our energy demand.  

One of the key targets of Green Plan 2030 is "80-80-80 by 2030":
“Green” 80% of Singapore's buildings (by Gross Floor Area) by 2030, up from the current 40%;
80% of new buildings (by Gross Floor Area) to be Super Low Energy buildings from 2030; and
Best-in-class green buildings to see 80% improvement in energy efficiency (over 2005 levels) by 2030

At the same time, we aim to reduce energy consumption in HDB towns by 15%, as HDB adopts new technologies to improve ventilation and reduce heat gain.  

New technologies and applications could enable residents to better monitor and optimise their use of appliances and equipment.  The same goes for business leaders.  Data is power.  Greater visibility and control over their electricity usage enables them to conserve energy and save money. It is also well accepted that if people -- as well as organisations -- are aware how their usage levels compare to their peers, they are more inclined to modify their own behaviours.  

Useful links:
Singapore energy statistics
Energy Efficient Singapore
Building energy efficiency R&D roadmap

Opportunities & Prizes

Terms and conditions apply.


Connect with the A*StartCentral community to learn more about our initiatives in Innovation and Entrepreneurships, including the upcoming innovation challenges and programmes for deep tech startups.

Check out A*STAR Makeathon 2022 for a brand new challenge in Health and Wellness in the Digital Age.