We loved this project from RCA graduate Hal Watts when we visited the show a few weeks back. He's come up with a super clever solution to a big problem. E-waste from all over the world is exported to a few developing countries for recycling, and 40,000 people in Accra, Ghana alone depend on this industry.
The problem is that often the recycling processes, such as burning, are damaging to not only the environment, but to the recylcer's health. One of the most valuable forms of e-waste is copper wire. The plastic coating is burned off, to get to the copper, releasing toxic gases in the process. Hal Watts' solution is a bicycle powered shredder and sorter.
It shreads the cables into little pieces. The particles then go into a very cleverly simple metal separator, which removes the plastic and leads to a yield of 98% pure copper.
The toxic burning process is eliminated, the unburnt copper can be sold for 20% more than burnt copper, and the plastic granules provide a new source of income.
Watts plans to make the designs available to local workshops who he hopes will produce and sell the machines to recyclers, thus creating a system that is economically driven to spread. Wow.
To see more of Hal Watt's work, visit website http://www.halwatts.co.uk