Winners of Negawatt: students will produce 3D thread from plastic boxes

The energy and resource conservation competition Negawatt for students elected its winners: recycling plastic, quitting cups and saving heat. The first place went to the UT team “Box Spinners” who make the boxes of pipette caps used in labs into thread for 3D printers.

The aim of the Negawatt competition is for students to create energy efficient solutions, in previous years, for example, UT students’ tap water campaign “Take it from the tap!” was developed. On 24 May, the winner of this year’s competition was announced, whose solution is to give new life to plastic by collecting the boxes of pipette caps used in laboratories.

The numbers are big as more than 40,000 boxes are left over in the labs of universities during the year. Currently, these boxes end up in trash. The idea of the Box Spinners, Kuldar Kõiv from the UT Institute of Biomedicine and Translational Medicine and doctoral student of Technology Tarmo Mölder, is to collect them and crush them. The produced colourful rubble will be processed into 3D printer thread.

The young men say that collecting plastic waste from all over UT would help save 80 megawatt-hours of energy in a year—this is equal to the annual energy consumption of about 14 households. The aim of the Box Spinners is to reach beyond the university to biology enterprises but later also to common households.

Second place went to Tallinn University students who called for giving up coffee cups and third place to Tallinn University of Technology students who install recuperative air heaters in classrooms. 

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