Project Everest

Proposed Experiment
Solution

[DEC 18][REPURPOSE] ERS Timor Product Ideas

Timor ERS is all systems go at the moment, currently operating as a recyclables collection service for 10 hotels and restaurants within the Dili area with several promising EOIs lined up.

While we are stoked with the ongoing progress of the collection service, one thing we are still working towards is finding a sustainable and feasible end-use for the collected plastic and glass (aluminium is easy as there are several metal recycling companies in Dili). We are still intending to export large quantities as necessary once collected (this may take years), but feel that working on smaller scale reuse projects within Timor-Leste will not only create greater social impact but also help with the expansion of the collection service.

Current prototypes made include;

1) Vertical farm using plastic bottles as seedling starters.

Taking a little inspiration from the internet, the team was able to create a pyramid style vertical farm with bottles cut in half acting as seedling starters. The vertical farm prototype is complete with plastic hosing to allow efficient irrigation. It has been seen through farm visits by the Ag team that plastic bottles are already being used in more advanced farms and demonstration plots in rural districts. But even so, they are limited by land space within their greenhouse, therefore by introducing vertical farming, farmers could have larger quantities of seedlings.

2) Air-con panel using the top half of plastic bottles.

Taken from one of the legends on Cambodia ERS (Matt - thank you!) who commented on our previous post looking for ideas, the team has created a prototype bottle air-con panel using plywood and bottle halves. After a little research we found these systems are currently being made in India and are called Eco-Coolers! The panel is to be put in a window/door/wall and when mounted, the wider part of the bottles faces outward and catches the passing wind, funneling cool air into the building’s interior. It has been shown to potentially reduce room temperatures by up to 5 degrees (we will be conducting our own experiments).

3) Re-purposed plastic bottle bins.

After being in contact with local community group 3R (a group of UNTL students passionate about sustainability) it was discovered one of their projects involves creating recycling bins for local schools made entirely out of repurposed steel and plastic bottles. They have said they are happy to take our plastic bottles and not only is this is sick way to reuse the collected plastic but it also targets one of our other goals of facilitating behaviour change to encourage recycling. We have a workshop with them tomorrow to create some prototype bins. 

4) Glass as as supplemental aggregate in concrete.

We have made up four different concrete samples with the addition of our collected glass bottles crushed and used to substitute a portion of the gravel normal used. After some research it was found that substituting 10% of gravel gives optimum results for compressive strength. We have made a sample with no glass, a sample with 10%, one with 25% and one sample with the glass as an aesthetic feature. 

We would love any kind of feedback or thoughts on these ideas as well as any other uses for plastic and glass! 

Thanks team!

- Dec Timor ERS

 

Images attached are sourced below; 

Bottle bins: https://www.pinterest.com.au/pin/769131061144...?autologin=true

Vertical farm: http://balconygardenweb.com/plastic-bottle-ve...ttles-and-wood/

Bottle Aircon: http://observers.france24.com/en/20160602-ban...tles-technology

edited on 16th January 2019, 05:01 by Rose Gooding

Rebecca Pink Dec 14, 2017

Would love your thoughts!

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William Lee Dec 15, 2017

Awesome stuff Bec & team; I'm super impressed with these product ideas!

A cool way to market this would be to provide discounts to existing ERS customers. This would show customers where and how their waste is recycled, which would encourage ongoing customer loyalty with ERS. Plus, given you already have an existing relationship with them, they would naturally be the first people you would contact to sell these products.

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Rebecca Pink Dec 15, 2017

Thanks for commenting Will - love your work!
Yeh would be awesome to get their thoughts, especially in the early days of prototyping. We are also hoping that the Ag team can show the vertical farm prototype on some of their farm visits to see if its valuable to them.
Will keep you updated!

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Rebecca Pink Dec 15, 2017

Keen to hear what you guys think!

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Scott Jucius Dec 15, 2017

I think the vertical farm using the plastic bottle is a brilliant idea as it allows for growing products in small spaces. But my thinking for recycling bottles, is why not think large scale. Hence, the idea of using recycled glass bottles to build greenhouses. This should be possible with enough bottles and a few supports.

Not only would the greenhouses use the recycled glass bottles from ERS, but could also be used by the agriculture team and local farmers to help grow a wide variety of different fruits and vegetables. The plastic bottles from ERS can also be used for vertical farming within the greenhouse to improve crop yield and to eliminate further waste. Plastic bottles could also be used for water storage within the greenhouse through glass bottles in the roof, to provide water for the plants to grow. Therefore, the whole system can easily be self sustainable and with automation people would not even have to water themselves.

Love to hear your thoughts on my idea as I am currently sitting on my couch in Australia so this could easily not be feasible in Timor-Leste.

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Rebecca Pink Dec 17, 2017

Thanks Scott! I like your thinking. Don't think glass would be feasible as most of our collected glass is coloured and greenhouses work best when clear. BUT! Your idea got as thinking and have discovered that plastic bottle greenhouses are definitely a thing. Will pass on this info to the Ag Assessment team to assist feasibility - looks super promising though!
Photo source: http://www.goodshomedesign.com/build-plastic-bottle-greenhouse/

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Wade Tink Dec 18, 2017

Really rate this application of plastic bottles. Is it possible to do a prototype of this? (without context I'm not sure if that is your logical next step).
Could be putting the cart before the horse though in that you are starting from a product rather than a customer segment and problem set.
It would be worth investigating this from a design thinking point of view with consultation of the Ag team. Can you keep us updated on this...

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Rebecca Pink Dec 23, 2017

Definite potential to make a prototype of this for the Ag Assessments developmental plot. We think this would be a cool opportunity to test its effectiveness and also gain feedback from farmers attending workshops, meetings etc.
Ag team had identified from their farm visits that only farmers which had partnered with Avansa and Agrikultui had greenhouses, which were often quite expensive ($400-$450 for plastic sheeting). So there definitely may be a market!
3R members have also expressed a strong interest in assisting with a greenhouse prototype as well as the vertical farming.
Will definitely keep you updated.

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Scott Jucius Dec 19, 2017

Glad to hear the greenhouse idea might have some potential for both recycling and agriculture teams. Using plastic bottles is definitely a good alternative for glass bottles, and the pictures of current designs in the link actually look pretty good. I'll stay tuned to see if you happen to make a prototype in the future.

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Rebecca Pink Dec 23, 2017

Thanks Scott!

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Alex Piatek Dec 15, 2017

Found this for using plastic bottles in its whole form for construction - no need to shred or melt. This example is for houses, however, we could trial this with the construction of the large concrete bins at the accommodation.

http://www.instructables.com/id/New-Innovatio...-Waste-Plastic/

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Rebecca Pink Dec 17, 2017

This is cool. Lets definitely give this a crack at Paradises.

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Rebecca Pink Jan 1, 2018

This is what I was mentioning earlier.

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Ciaran Hoare Dec 17, 2017

RE the concrete, do you have any avenues set out here? I'm aware there was one construction company that used crushed glass in building roads as a way to get rid of the waste.
If you're looking to set this up as a revenue stream, suss where the academia is at (potential for FYP Tink?) and put some feelers out in the market to see if there's a want or need. Considering Dili is a pretty low rise place, there wouldn't be a huge need for high compressive strength concrete (do not take this as genuine engineering advice pls lel)

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Rebecca Pink Dec 17, 2017

Theres quite a few geotech and construction companies (the list we are going off is here https://www.easttimor-timorleste.com/Construc...Leste_Dili.htm) around Dili that we intend to speak to regarding testing, interest and general feasibility. Agree about the potential lack of need of high compressive strength concrete buttt may be of interest to local construction companies who could use a higher ammount of it to reduce cost for small projects not needing high strength. Also, the one we made with glass as an aesthetic feature looks funky as when polished!

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Wade Tink Dec 18, 2017

Immediate thought here Bec is what the cost of the gravel is as a raw material input into concrete? Do you know this information or could you find out and post?
Replacing 10% of the gravel costs may have a material impact for construction companies and if you charge a small amount it may cover your costs.
My thought is that this is the most feasible way to shift alot of volume within Timor and there aren't any issues around quality of the glass.

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Wade Tink Dec 18, 2017

FYI Concrete is used in the finance world as a proxy for country development. To explain, when a developed country reaches a certain amount of concrete per person it is considered to be 'developed' because extra infrastructure/concrete does not create an increase in quality of living or economic output. Another way of putting it is why would you make more concrete than you have to- it's frickin ugly! Thus, you could roughly gauge future concrete demand based on the population and rate of growth. Calculate 10% of the inputs and you have potential market size and social impact. That might be a number that can interest external expertise.

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Andrew Vild Jul 2, 2018

Hi Bec,

All these ideas are really good. What I would love to see is the outcome of them. Why they worked and why they didn't.

Is there an existing post around this? If so can you link it? There's a lot of really good ideas of what is about to be done on Basecamp but often the follow up of what happened isn't.

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Andrew Vild Jul 2, 2018

Status labels added: Proposed PROJECT, Proposed Experiment, Solution

Would like to see the results for this.

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Andrew Vild Jul 2, 2018

Status label removed: Proposed PROJECT

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