While we have many options for recycling in developed areas of the world, such is not the case in remote, underdeveloped regions. Transporting plastic waste to a recycling plant from such areas is costly, but there is a new solution now. The so-called Trashpresso machine, created by the firm Miniwiz upcycles plastic waste into useful products, such as floor tiles, and it can do so off-the-grid.
The Miniwiz Trashpresso machine was built using a standard 40-foot shipping container, which means it can easily be transported to any area that is accessible by a truck. The structure is self-powered thanks to the solar power array on it’s exterior, so that it does not need to be connected to the grid or a generator in order to perform the upcycling processes it was designed to carry out.
Once the Trashpresso is deployed, the process of upcycling can start. Trash is first collected and then washed, shredded, melted, and finally molded, which all happens via an automated process. The water that is used for cleaning is filtered and reused in the process.
They first introduced the Trashpresso in Shanghai on Earth Day 2017, while it was also the subject on the National Geographic documentary series called “Jackie Chan Green Hero.” They are planning to deploy the first Trashpresso in July of this year, and it will be used to clean up the glacier region of NianBao Yuze on the Tibetan Plateau, which feeds into the Yellow, Yangtze and Mekong rivers. An increase of tourism in this area has led to a vast increase in litter, which is a problem the Trashpresso is perhaps most suited to solve. It will also be a great tool to teaching people living in isolated areas about the benefits of recycling, while also giving them a way to do so.