Students Re-Purpose Trash to Address a Worldwide Issue

By Melissa Crash

Published 08/05 2014 04:41PM

Updated 08/05 2014 07:00PM

Imagine turning plastic trash products, into materials to build low-cost shelters.

Eight Rose-Hulman students have come up with a way to turn someone's trash, into treasure.

During the student's summer course, they decided to find a way to re-purpose trash, to address a worldwide issue.

Thousands of residents in Haiti are living in unsafe housing due to weather related disasters and local government issues.

But these students have found a way to take plastic materials from trash, to create a melted blend through a solar oven.

The plastic oil is then poured into molds, to create planks and bricks.

These bricks will then be used to build low-cost shelters, and also help improve the environment.

Haiti is one of the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere. One student says he hopes their idea has a major impact.

Ryan Tanaka, a Rose-Hulman student who worked on the solar oven said, "Show me how much we take for granted here, through our research we found that most Haitians live off of approximately 2 dollars per day and to be able to build something like this here it's totally different than the resources that they would have there."

The students stated since large amounts of trash can be found through out Haiti's countryside, this is will make it accessible for residents to find the resources to build their model.

Officials say the students aren't sending their solar oven model, but they will be providing the process and information to re-create it for the people of Haiti to build and use.

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