23 March 2012
Dale Hardiman, Green Inventors Award winner, and Bernie Hobbs, emcee for the event, pictured with the Kids Straw Stool.
Green Inventors panelists: Adjunct Professor Alan Pears, Associate Director of RMIT’s Centre for Design, Jen McBride, RMIT Bachelor of Design (Industrial Design) Honours graduate and inventor of the Secure Cycle, a slash-proof, water-proof bicycle cover, and Stephen Mushin, Green Technology manager at CERES Environment Park and freelance designer and sustainability master planner.
Back row: Michael Gray (contestant), Dale Hardiman (winner), Ryan O’Donnell (contestant), Bernie Hobbs (emcee). Front row: panelists Adjunct Professor Pears, Ms McBride and Mr Mushin.
It’s another accolade for RMIT University Industrial Design student, Dale Hardiman.
The resourceful student has developed an environmentally sustainable Kids Straw Stool, which was a big hit with the 100-strong voting audience at the recent RMIT Green Inventors Event, part of the 2012 Sustainable Living Festival.
Mr Hardiman beat two other RMIT Industrial Design students to take out the 2012 Green Inventors Award.
This award comes on top of two achievements in 2011. Mr Hardiman’s straw stool was named winner of the Vivid Green Design Award and was also runner-up in the Bombay Sapphire Design Discovery Award.
Mr Hardiman’s stool is completely biodegradable and made from wheat starch, water, vinegar, glycerol, pea straw and grass seeds.
“The Kids Straw Stool evolved from the desire to create a product that was neither toxic nor required the purchasing of any tools,” Mr Hardiman said.
“I began researching natural, composite materials and developed the product through cooking the ingredients on the stove top and in the oven of my share house in Brunswick, when the kitchen was free,” Mr Hardiman said.
Once it reaches the end of its life, The Kids Straw Stool decomposes, with the pea straw and grass seeds sprouting new growth.
RMIT Adjunct Professor Alan Pears AM, a high-profile figure in the sustainable energy and environment fields since the late 1970s and one of the three panelists who presided over the Green Inventors Event, said Mr Hardiman’s invention was popular with the audience because it could be made so easily.
“Due to its inherent simplicity, there is potential for the making of a product like The Kids Straw Stool to be integrated into school or community activities,” Adjunct Professor Pears said.
“People could grow most of the raw materials, use them and retire them to the garden to help grow the replacement material,” he said.
Mr Hardiman said that winning the Green Inventors event felt completely different to the other awards that he has previously won for The Kids Straw Stool.
“At the Green Inventors event, the fact that the entire audience had a say in who would win the competition was definitely very intimidating to begin with,” Mr Hardiman said.
He said that the ability of the Green Inventors high-profile emcee, Bernie Hobbs, former ABC’s New Inventors panelist, to engage the presenters in a conversation about their inventions helped him relax and really enjoy the experience.
Adjunct Professor Pears said: “Having an event like RMIT Green Inventors helps people realise that designers play an important role in shaping the options the community has to live sustainable lives.”