Trashpresso – Turning Trash Into Tiles With Solar Power

Trashpresso runs on solar energy

Mobile plastic waste upcycling – Miniwiz’s Trashpresso

The world’s first mobile plastics and fabric waste recycling plant, powered by solar panels, was recently demonstrated in Shanghai.

Housed in a 12 metre shipping container platform, Trashpresso can operate entirely off-grid. Its self-powered and mobile nature means it could be particularly useful in isolated communities without recycling programs for dealing with plastic and fabric waste.

“Once stationed, the Trashpresso container opens much like a satellite unpacking in orbit,” states Miniwiz. ” Trash is collected locally, then washed, shredded, melted, and molded through an automated process. The water required for cleaning the trash is reused by being cycled back into the process.”

The processed plastic is turned into tiles that can be used for interior or exterior flooring, or utilised as raw materials for other applications; including yarning, injection and extrusion.

According to a report on NewAtlas, the equivalent of five plastic bottles makes up each tile and the Trashpresso can churn out around 10 m2 of the tiles every 40 minutes.

It’s not clear what capacity/type of energy storage (if any) is used in conjunction with the solar panels.

The machine is the creation of Miniwiz, which was founded in 2005 by architect and structural engineers Arthur Huang and Jarvis Liu.

“We are obsessed with making the circular economy a reality in every day consumption,” says the company. ” We live to support the mass adoption of a circular system whereby all the materials we use are reused, again and again and again with zero waste.”

Its first creation to turn heads was the HYmini in 2005 – a portable wind, solar and hand-crank power generator made from recycled electronic waste plastic and post consumer recycled paper.

Hymini - solar and wind powered electricity generator

Hymini by Miniwiz

Among the company’s other creations:

  • Natrilon : a material made from 100% post-consumer recycled PET bottles and Nano SiO2 derived from rice husks.
  • Polli-Brick : building material made from 100% recycled Polyethylene Terephthalate Polymer.
  • Ricefold : a ceiling module created from water bottles and DVDs.
  • The Hops Chair : a chair based on recycled polypropylene reinforced with spent-grain waste from beer brewing and recycled PET fabric.

In 2015, Miniwiz was recognised by the World Economic Forum as a Technology Pioneer in the category “Energy / Environment / Infrastructure”.

About Michael Bloch

Michael caught the solar power bug after purchasing components to cobble together a small off-grid PV system in 2008. He's been reporting on Australian and international solar energy news ever since.

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