Press Releases

Press Release

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, April 29, 2014

 

Contact: Dr. David Saiia

Agency: Reuse Everything Institute, Inc. (REII)

Email: david@reuseeverything.orgPhone:  607.351.1770

Website: http://www.reuseeverything.org

 

REII teams up with CMU students to tackle plastic waste and create jobs

Pittsburgh (April 29, 2014)- The Reuse Everything Institute (REII) and the Carnegie Mellon University chapter of Engineers Without Borders announced the field-testing of the next generation of plastic waste conversion technology.  For the last two years, REII and a group of approximately 50 CMU student engineers have been working to automate a machine invented by Dr. David Saiia, CEO/Co-founder of REII.  This machine converts waste plastic bottles into low-cost building materials while using a fraction of the energy required by conventional recycling methods.

The automated machine will cut waste plastic bottles and weld the pieces together into continuous ribbons of plastic using equipment provided by Dukane Corporation. These ribbons can be made into a variety of construction products, such as fence, roofing and greenhouse covers.  “We have made great progress through our collaboration with the CMU students,” explains Dr. Saiia.  “Pittsburgh has a history of manufacturing innovation. We really feel that we are tapping into that tradition through our work.”

In August, REII staff and 11 CMU students will travel to Fundación Maquipucuna (FM), 75 miles north of Quito, Ecuador, to field-test the latest design of the waste plastic bottle conversion technology. Dr. Saiia has been partnering with FM on sustainable initiatives for over a decade. Field-testing the device in Ecuador conserves REII’s R & D budget and provides an essential source of income for struggling communities bordering the FM reserve. FM is an Ecological Reserve that has been actively protecting two of the top places for biodiversity on the planet for over 25 years.” (visit www.maqui.org  for details)  “Once we have finished automating the technology, we plan to build and install a plastic thatch roof for an Organic Farming Training Center at Fundación Maquipucuna” said Vananh Le, Co-Founder/Director of REII. “The students from CMU are not only smart and capable, but they also possess a deep sense of social and ecological consciousness that distinguishes them from others.  This trip will be a great opportunity for them to apply their work in a real world situation and to put their values into practice.

Engineers Without Borders brings together students from a variety of disciplines including engineering, art, and architecture to wrestle with many problems our world faces today. The PET Thatch Project with REII addresses the growing issue of plastic waste, while simultaneously creating jobs. It is a multi-faceted problem with an equally multi-faceted team dedicated to developing a solution,” observed, Madelyn Gioffre, the CMU-EWB student project leader.

Our ultimate goal,” said Dr. Saiia, “is to apply the automated technology to help jobless or underemployed people create profitable businesses that convert waste plastic into construction products in Western Pennsylvania using Pittsburgh as the manufacturing center. “

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About Reuse Everything Institute

The Reuse Everything Institute, Inc. (REII), is a Pittsburgh-based non-profit organization dedicated to uncovering ways of using knowledge and resources for better ecological management of human activity on our shared planet. For more information, visit http://www.reuseeverything.org

About Engineers Without Borders- Carnegie Mellon chapter

Engineers Without Borders- Carnegie Mellon chapter is a group of Carnegie Mellon students dedicated to understanding the challenges that face humanity today, and creating socially-conscious and environmentally sustainable technologies to improve quality of life for local, national, and international communities. More information on REII can be found at http://www.contrib.andrew.cmu.edu/~ewbcmu/index.html