Student turns trash into cash

CRAIG Cox, from Tullamore, a GMIT student, was a finalist in the Department of the Environment, Heritage & Local Government’s rx3 “Trash to Cash” competition for third level students to turn recyclable waste into new products, services or processes.

CRAIG Cox, from Tullamore, a GMIT student, was a finalist in the Department of the Environment, Heritage & Local Government’s rx3 “Trash to Cash” competition for third level students to turn recyclable waste into new products, services or processes.

Craig’s project, “Tri-Change”, aims to encourage and inspire consumers to upcycle their waste. The tri-change mood lamp is a flat pack and the user can apply their own lampshade materials using paper, textiles or plastic.

The Minister for the Environment, Heritage & Local Government, Mr Phil Hogan, TD, announced the competiton winners last Wednesday.

Joint first prize went to Nick Barker from Dublin for SKIP, a skipping rope made from recycled plastic bottles and to Padraig Doyle, GMIT, Letterfrack for the Waste Share Chair made of Birch veneer sourced from spacers on pallets found in retail packaging waste. Nick and Padraig each received a prize of €1,250. Third prize of €500 was awarded to Mark McGuinness, DIT for Strapped For Cash, a wallet made from recycled car seat belts. The winning and shortlisted projects can be viewed at www.rx3.ie and will be exhibited at rx3 events around the country throughout 2011.

This is the second year of the Trash to Cash competition organised by rx3: rethink, recycle, remake, a Department of the Environment, Heritage & Local Government initiative.

“I was impressed by the ingenuity and passion in the rx3 Trash to Cash finalists’ entries and it is a great tribute to our young people and our third level education system that such innovation and creativity is thriving in Ireland,” said Minister Hogan. “One of the keys to our economic recovery and future success will be developing products and services for export and I am pleased to see that my Department is running initiatives to stimulate market development to reprocess more recyclables here at home to create new industries and jobs.”

Currently, Ireland exports nearly 1,247,299 tonnes (or 73%) of the paper, plastics, glass, rubber, metals, clothing collected for recycling that could be turned into quality new products, services or processes here in Ireland. Other rx3 initiatives to stimulate markets in Ireland include funding for R&D and Feasibility Studies to be awarded in the coming weeks.

The high level judging panel for Trash to Cash comprised the Department of the Environment, Heritage & Local Government officials and industry leaders, Dr. Christopher Horn, co founder and former CEO of Iona Technologies and Chris Baker, UK General Manager of TerraCycle, one of the world’s fastest growing eco-friendly companies.