MILAN – Raising awareness about recycling through innovative systems to reuse plastic materials; this idea has been implemented by a 23 year-old in New Zealand, Lionel Taito-Matamua, who received the “New Zealand Innovators Award” for his eco-friendly project. This was much to the satisfaction of the design student from Victoria University in Wellington. Lionel's project entitled “Renewing Materials: 3D Printing and Distributed Recycling Disrupting Samoa’s Plastic Waste Stream” is a study about how technology, and in particular 3D printing, is able to transform and create objects from recycled plastic in order to re-use the plastic waste dispersed throughout streams and waterways in Samoa, his native country.
Objectives of the pilot project
Of the ten finalists of the “New Zealand Innovators Award”, Taito-Matamua's project was the only one to make it to Wellington, the country's capital. At 23, the design student also won in the finals of competition “Young New Zealand Innovator”, for his research on the production of additives. Taito-Matamua admitted to be very excited about this double candidature: "Being nominated alongside great companies, businesses in the sector, groups and successful individuals is very satisfying - said the boy - and it is confirmation that the sacrifices of an entire year of research have been paid off. The project, after a long period of research, has already begun. Next month, Taito-Matamua will launch the pilot project teaching a dozen students how to use the 3D modelling software, hoping that the adolescents will understand the value that technology could have in terms of improving recycling processes. Taito-Matamua's ultimate goal is to present the project in Samoa, with the hope that residents will be able to make use of 3D printing technology to address the growing problem of plastic waste.
Lionel's thoughts on recycling plastic
"There is not a system in place for recycling plastic in Samoa. Everything ends up in landfills or in the oceans, or simply gets burned. For my thesis, the idea was to use 3D printing in a way that can benefit the local community as well as other countries which do not have recycling systems in order to help reducing the problem." The young candidate for the final price described some of the creative solutions designed so far. These include the transformation of plastic bottles into tourist souvenirs and the construction of models of marine mammals for schools to educate students.
by editorial staff