ZERO WASTE TECHNOLOGY
Sustainability: Teaching & Learning
By Anke Nienhuis
As part of teaching and research in the Industrial design department at AUT, we are running a student project on the reuse of waste materials. We collect waste created by the university and aim to transform it into functional, viable and feasible products, to be used by our students and staff. We have built several machines and are currently processing discarded milk bottles (HDPE) used in our offices and café’s, but we could use other types of plastic waste in the future too.
Most of our student projects have sustainability considerations and we give students knowledge and tools to design with the environment in mind. In this project specifically, the focus is not on ‘designing out waste’ but on using and reusing waste that has already been created, therefore lowering the use of virgin plastic and the creation of more waste, aiming for a circular economy within AUT. We also want to raise awareness of the waste problem and show people, and especially the students, that they can make a difference and empower them to do so.
The project is still in progress, but I show the machinery in development and a few examples of student projects; proposals on what to make out of the discarded milk bottle plastic.