PET Thatch

Project Mission:

Plastic pollution is a ubiquitous issue that impacts communities around the world regardless of socioeconomic status or geographic location. Much of plastic waste is generated because recycling plants and landfills are traditionally government-owned and require immense monetary and energy resources to maintain; these requirements present barriers to developing countries in processing waste. Our project looks for methods to upcycle used plastic bottles as an alternative method to recycling. The goal is to develop an easily implementable, sustainable way to modify the shape of water bottles for use in building appliances and infrastructure. The current goal is to turn bottles into shapes that can be used for multiple purposes.

Milestones:

Experimented with different designs and theories for processing water bottles. Held CAD workshops, created prototypes of the bottle cutting machine in SolidWorks, acquired materials to make prototype, built and redesigned parts of machine. We assembled tarps with processed water bottles. However, use of the tarps showed deterioration of materials due to UV rays. Therefore, we have pivoted our project direction to create insulation materials for homes, and then determined that the best way to make this project energy efficient and low cost would be to focus on creating shapes that can be used for multiple purposes.

Future Goals:

Develop an effective bottle heat/pressing mechanism and process. Different forms of heating are not as effective as others, we want to determine which form of heating is the most energy efficient at the lowest cost. Similarly, there are a variety of cutting processes to choose from, but the goal of our project is to determine which final shape can be best used for a variety of purposes once cut. We also want to research which areas will most benefit from having technology that can recycle water bottles into different shapes. The next step for future years would be to combine the mechanisms chosen in order to streamline both processes so bottles can pass from one step to another seamlessly, outreach to communities that may be able to use this product.

Join Our Project:

  • Caroline Pang <carolinp@andrew.cmu.edu>
  • Taiz Iturbide <titurbid@andrew.cmu.edu> 

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