Aerospace students consisting of Mr. Akash Vineet, Mr. Akash Jayakumar and Mr. Abhihas Balaji from Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, Coimbatore campus under the guidance of Dr. Shantanu Bhowmik, Professor: Department of Aerospace Engineering and Head Research and Projects, Amrita School of Engineering, Coimbatore have developed a technology to convert single-use plastics into products like floor tiles, roof tiles etc.
The project was supported by Amrita Technology Business Incubator (TBI) with the grant of Rs. 10,00,000/- from Nidhi- Prayas. The students have incorporated a recycling startup R-Cube Plastics incubated at Amrita TBI. They have developed low cost and low weight roof tiles and pavement tiles. A single pavement tile could withstand upto 2 tonne of compressive load. The strength of the product is equivalent to concrete, which is made from 100% recycled plastic.
Problem & Solution
Plastic is the most used man-made material in the world. It plays a major role in almost all industries like packaging, electronics and appliances, construction and transport. Unfortunately, most of the plastic items are a one-time use product and then they are thrown into the environment. Due to their non- degradable nature, they are harmful to the environment. They are thrown into the ocean or made into huge garbage mountains in landfills. The reasonable way to get rid of all the plastics would be recycling them into products with a longer lifespan. But the major problem in recycling is that in the process of recycling the properties of plastics are reduced by half to that of virgin plastics, due to which only 9% of the total 9 billion tonnes of plastic has been recycled. Even though they banned the
use of single use plastics that will just account to 5-10% of the plastics waste generated, 90% of the plastics generated per day were left and 9 billion tonnes of The major disadvantage of recycled plastics is its quality and strength. Through the process done by the team, they provided recycled products to
customers with better property at a lower cost than virgin plastics. Their solution can be applied to all the major plastics in the plastic industry namely LDPE, HDPE, PET, PP. The competitors have an efficient way to only recycle Plastic bottles (PET). The plastic industries can be considered as a competitor. They only introduced 10% of the recycled plastic in their virgin production. But, the trio were able to create products using recycled plastics.
Their products may drastically help to improve the environment and 73% of the millennials are ready to pay more if the products have a cause or if it’s helpful to the environment. According to the latest "Eco Pulse" trending data, 90% of millennials will buy from a brand whose social and environmental practices they trust, and 95% of them will recommend that brand to a friend. So, their target market would be Millennials.
The main advantage of their raw material is that it is moldable into any desirable products. So that, based on the location and the needs they can decide the production of the product. Some examples where their raw material can be potentially used are
● Roof Tiles
● Floor Tiles
● Tabletop Planks
● Divider Blocks
The beneficiary of the Innovation
Environment : Non-degradable plastics are harmful to the environment. They are thrown into the ocean or made into huge garbage mountains in landfills. The reasonable way to get rid of all the plastics would be recycling them into products with a longer lifespan. But the major problem in recycling is that in the process of recycling the properties of plastics are reduced by half as virgin plastics, due to
which only 8% of the total 9 billion tonnes of plastic has been recycled. With no efficient way of recycling, they are dumping around 8 million tonnes of plastic waste into the ocean every day. Through their process, they can efficiently recycle those harmful products into useful products with a longer lifetime.
Living organism : When the plastic waste is thrown into the ocean the aquatic animals mistake those plastic waste as food and consumes them, because of which many aquatic species are in the verge of extinction in the last few years. The plastic when encountered by UV rays in the ocean also break down into micro plastics which in turn is consumed by the planktons which are the producers in the food chain, thus entering into the food chain and affecting almost all the living organism in our world.
Country’s economy : By recycling plastic wastes they can create 6 times more jobs than just dumping plastic wastes. The waste plastics need not be dumped in landfills which occupies real estate which can be used for city developments.