LONDON -- A Puerto Rican engineering and art student has designed a stationary bicycle that can recycle plastic bottles into fibers to make things like tables and chairs. And he has posted instructions to build the bike so others can do so too.
Victor Monserrate, 27, says he designed his recycling bicycle, which he calls “The Ingenio,” or "Genious Machine," with people in developing countries who have limited resources in mind. He says his goal was to figure out a good way to recycle plastic while giving people who collect garbage a way to make more money from it.
The process begins by feeding plastic bottles into a grinder that is powered by the bicycle “rider” via the bicycle’s pedals. The grinder spits out plastic chips that the “rider” then transfers to an extruder, a melting device made from two toaster elements and also powered by pedals, that produces plastic fibers strong enough for industrial use.
By taking the middle man out of recycling, individual recyclers can sell the more value-added products of plastic chips and fibers -- or even make plastic products themselves. Monserrate thinks that with his invention, people who live by recycling garbage can earn more, especially if they collaborate with artesans, using the plastic fibers to create things they can sell.
Monserrate is a graduate of the Pratt Institute of New York and is currently pursuing a double masters in Innovation and Design in the Royal College of Art and Imperial College in London. He plans to return to Puerto Rico in November to start his own creative design business through which he plans to sell his projects to Latin American businesses.
You can find Victor Monserrate’s designs at his website, www.vmdesign.org.