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Mobile Plastic-Waste Upcycling Platform a Finalist in World Design Awards

The all-in-one system upcycles plastic waste into architectural tiles suited for interior or exterior decoration, flooring, or insulation.

The Trashpresso mobile plastic-trash upcycling platform, billed as the world’s first such system, is a finalist for the World Design Impact Prize for 2021.

Created by Taiwan engineering, design, and manufacturing firm Miniwiz, the industrial-grade Trashpresso continues the company’s mission of upcycling consumer trash and industrial waste.

Bundled into a 40-foot container, the solar-powered Trashpresso is an all-in-one solid-waste recycling line that the company says can upcycle up to 50 kg of waste per hour. That industrial and household waste is converted into architectural tiles for interior or exterior decoration, flooring, or insulation. Those tiles are made from an array of plastic waste — bottles and caps, bags, wrappers, and even razors, syringes, gloves, and Styrofoam.

“Waste compressed into tile format is less costly to transport, facilitating industrial scale up,” the company explains on its website. “While at a recycling plant, the tiles can be upcycled through cycles such as yarning, injection, or extrusion.” The unit can upcycle polymers into thermoplastic with a melting point lower than its burning point.

Trashpresso lines can incorporate various equipment based on need and location, including a shredder or compactor, washer, dehumidifier, dryer, oven, and other stations. Air and water filters further safeguard the environment.

Two Trashpresso lines are running, one in Asia and one in Europe. Trashpresso features a backup diesel generator, which has come in handy during snow conditions for Trashpresso 1’s Tibetan Mission, the company said. Trashpresso 2, unveiled at the 2017 London Design Festival, was developed for Pentatonic, a company that makes consumer products from recycled trash. The company recently unveiled a “smarter and smaller” automatic version, according to Miniwiz spokesperson Valentina Chiu, as shown in the video.

By transforming an array of plastics — PS, PP, PET, LDPE, HDPE, and more — into tiles, the Trashpresso “is part of a bigger plan to enable the circular economy,” the company says, by fostering “open access to recycled material and product data and shared knowledge about polymers.” The Miniwiz R&D team “is developing new portable recycling lines that work independently or together in a closed loop.”

Miniwiz even details exactly how much plastic goes into a single tile. For instance, a tile can be made from five plastic bottles or 50 caps and ringlets.

The World Design Impact Prize, established in 2011 by the World Design Organization (WDO), “aims to bring visibility and recognition to socially responsible design initiatives around the world,” the WDO said. The Montreal-based WDO advocates “for design for a better world, promoting and sharing knowledge of industrial design-driven innovation that enhances the economic, social, cultural, and environmental quality of life.”

The winner will be announced on Nov. 23 during the virtual World Design Talks. All three finalists will present their projects during a moderated panel discussion. To register for the event, visit the WDO website.

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