Monday, March 8, 2021
Greening And Environment

Unisa student designs innovative bin to solve food waste problem


The Tshwane inter-university innovation challenge has inspired Petunia Ndou and her teammates to think out of the box. The aim of the competition was to encourage students from Unisa, the University of Pretoria and the Tshwane University of Technology to develop solutions to the most pressing service delivery problems, focusing on energy and electricity, waste management, revenue collection and transportation.

Ndou and her teammates became frustrated of seeing tons of food ending up as waste at many Tshwane dump sites, so they decided to design a bin which had a grinder that shredded all kinds of food waste into small pieces. These are dropped into the bed of the bin, which contains material that neutralised odours.

“The grinder is sealed so that it is safe to use and child-friendly, and can be operated manually or with electricity. It will take the form of a recycling bin for household food waste which, instead of clogging up the City’s landfills, will be converted into biofuel,” said the Unisa student.

Ndou and her teammates have registered their own business called Ubuhlebezwe Waste Solutions, which aims to offer collection services and washing the bin. She said only one in 10 households segregated their waste for recycling, and they wanted to help households to participate in conserving the environment.

“The training was the eye-opener I needed because it pricks holes in your idea and makes you think: What am I missing? Is there a market? No matter how wonderful your idea seems, there is always more to be added,” she noted.

The team won third prize in the waste management category of the competition and received R50 000 to fund the food waste solution.
Ndou and her business partners were in the process of sourcing a manufacturer to make their first working food waste bin.

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