Rose-Hulman students produce plastic trash alternative


TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) – No that isn’t a 2 by 4 piece of wood (video), but it might be the replacement for it soon. This is the product that 8 Rose-Hulman students have produced in just 8 weeks.

And it’s all part of a grand engineering challenge to help other countries.

“We are doing this to improve the standard of living for Haiti,” shared Ryan Tanaka, project member.

This is how the idea was constructed.

“We found that there is a lot of plastic trash, in fact 250,000 lbs of plastic trash is exported from Haiti every month. Ultimately we decided to work with a plastic building material project, we built a solar cooker to melt plastic to design lumbar replacements,” said Tanaka.

So turning wasted plastic into a usable product. It was a fast cooking idea that started with the design for a solar cooker, but has molded into much more.

“We took scraps of plastic heated them up with the solar cooker and then you can mold them into pieces, that can be used for material,” said Katie Piens, Rose-Hulman student.

“It’s a low cost, so this can be applicable just about anywhere,” explained. Piens.

A summer course that hammers out creative ideas from the students, which transfer to products to use. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you confirm your email address and acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s