A French solution to recycling plastic

Samuel Remy (right) with one of the machines that turns waste into materials at Gandhi Park in Thiruvananthapuram.

Samuel Remy (right) with one of the machines that turns waste into materials at Gandhi Park in Thiruvananthapuram.  

Samuel Remy demonstrates technology for turning plastic waste into new products

In green and orange, they resemble playdough, but are hard plastic. Samuel Remy, who works at a fabrication lab at la Villette, a cultural park in Paris, and is the man behind the buzz at Gandhi Park on Friday evening, picks up lumps of plastic from the misshapen bunch and explains that they are the result of temperature being too high or too low.

One though, in green, is nearly what it is meant to be, a spinning top.

“The guy who built the mould for the top makes temple lamps and hence the shape,” laughs Samuel as he spins the top.

Samuel is demonstrating technology for turning plastic waste into a new product, at an event organised by the Alliance Francaise Trivandrum and the Kerala Startup Mission.

He is well aware of the menace that plastic poses — choking the city’s land and water and polluting the air when it is burnt. He also has a simple solution for it — three machines he has developed with the help of metal workers from Chala. One is a shredder with varying speeds for shredding plastic bottles, bags, and the rest. Next to it is another machine in which the shredded plastic melts and is transformed into a plastic wire. In the third machine, the wire becomes pellets that can be moulded into different products, be it knife handles, fruit trays, lampshades, exam boards, or even floor tiles.

Free to be used

As students, office-goers, and curious onlookers gather to know what is happening, Samuel stresses that the technology is open source and free to be used or adapted to local requirements. It can also help create local jobs, as in Chala where the metal workers even made the moulds for the products. “It’s a work in process. We are learning by doing, and have started getting it right,” he says.

The key is managing the temperature, so that the plastic does not burn, and only melts. Plastic of different kinds will also need to be segregated.

He has created a video in which shots of technology for recyling plastic in the Netherlands are mixed with those of workers in Chala toiling over the machines on display.

In the two weeks it took to find workers, map resources, and get the machines made, Samuel found that many people had the machine to turn plastic into new products.

“The missing link is collection of plastic and transporting it to the producer.”

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Printable version | Feb 24, 2020 3:02:18 AM |

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