Were you scared by the whale found stranded off the Norwegian coast with over 30 plastic bags in its stomach? So was mechanical engineer Martine Myhrum Sletmoen. But instead of setting out to clean the oceans of the 8 million tonnes of plastic reportedly leaking into them every year, she decided to try to prevent the plastics from getting there in the first place.
“Much is being done to remove plastic waste from the oceans already. Instead I want to look at how we can make the recycling process easier – and more fun. With the Desktop Recycling Machine, you can recycle and remake your plastic waste right at your desktop,” says Sletmoen.
Recycle locally and instantly
Her idea is to develop a simple mechanical device comprising a shredder, a melting mechanism and a 3D printer that would rapidly reproduce the plastic to something new. That way, the fact that recycling depends on everyone taking individually responsibility could be turned into an asset. Individuals actually recycling would get an instant “reward”.
“Creating a tool which enables you to recycle locally and instantly would also mean fewer trailers transporting plastic waste over long distances and causing further pollution,” Sletmoen envisions.
From problem to profit
She hopes that full-circle plastic recycling can make the same journey into businesses and homes as 3D printers have.
«As a product developer I often encounter the need to make prototypes quickly. If the recycled plastic could be directly connected to a 3D print mechanism, creativity is the only limit for what the plastic can be shaped into.»
Hear Martine Sletmoen’s take on how to make recycling plastic feel a little more fantastic here.
The contribution answers the following SDG-based case:
How can we create full recycling on board ships? How can we remove and reduce the spread and outlet of plastics into the oceans? How can ships function as cleaning facilities for river mouths and coastal areas? How can shipping reduce the spread of invasive species? How can we create ships without ballast water?
SHARE YOUR IDEA: From Problem to Profit