The Squeeze! | solutions

The Squeeze!

A solution for recycling plastic bag waste into a useful environmental tool. The Squeeze.
Our initial visit to Nepal as The Greenheart in November 2017 was partly motivated by a need to complete the cycle begun in the Tie the Trash project, initiated by staff and students at Vajra Academy back in 2014.

With ups and downs, and stops and starts due to natural disasters and international politics, Tie The Trash has only recently come back together as a vital rally against pollution, with events planned in March in Nepal, and then in the Netherlands in May, with Maarten Olthof and leadership of the
Vajra Foundation.

Completing the cycle: using the resource that the collected plastic represents, and transforming it into items of utility and purpose, creating opportunities for young people to generate income and avoid taking jobs in foreign countries.

My 'Idea A' regarding what to do with all the plastic once it's 'tied' has to do with transforming the plastic into filament to be used in 3D printers. aka 3D Ink. You'll have read elsewhere on this site of that
first round's efficacy, success and ultimate failure. More to do with a misunderstanding of the 3D printing device than whether appropriate for the context, we've moved forward and have a fix for the 'bricked' 3D printer we left behind at Vajra Academy.

We'll bring more reliable printers and a collection of useful, tool-level items to print, to aid in construction of the devices next described in The Solar Cooker building challenge!

We will use compression technology to create parts and pieces for making high-efficiency parabolic solar cookers, using the Tie the Trash waste plastic - bags, wrappers, packaging. We'll take this plastic and with a simple thermal press, (in our case, a T-shirt press, used for image transfers and appliquéWinking, and light pressure, will yield 15” x 15” plastic panels, approx. 1/8 - 1/4” thick. The squares will then be further cut into shapes based on particular templates, to ultimately build a solar cooker.

A simple T-shirt press. A timer-connected heated bed. Adjustable pressure and temp from 0 - 400C

Each panel part will have highly reflective
mylar material pressed onto one side, again using the T-shirt press and light pressure. Our source for the mylar? The inside of chip and cookie bags!

Cookie bags, chips, mints, granola = mylar-covered bag innards

Collectively, assembled using the included plans, the shiny-sided parts draw together to form a paneled parabola. Once the focal point is established, a simple pot holder is built.


With construction complete, meals can be cooked, using the thermal properties of the focal point generated by the parabolic form.

There are two forms we will explore when we get to building this, but our primary solar cooker design target is a 17-section, parabolic shape, giving function to the beautiful form as described by the design team for the
Sustainable Development Goals.

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The 17 slices of pie on the wheel of Sustainable Dharma - template for a solar cooker!

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A professionally built parabolic cooker, using metalized, highly shiny panels, w a metal support.

How symmetrically wonderful if we can create functioning high-powered solar cookers that utilized local waste plastic, helped clean the local environment, created entrepreneur opportunities, micro-manufacturing, educated about optical properties, mathematics, insolation, while also eliminating many toxins from the lives of people currently reliant on fossil fuels and wood for cooking.

The negative effects of burning materials for cooking are well documented here. Suffice to say, giving value to waste changes minds and attitudes about pollution and polluting.

another parabolic form suggested from geometric shapes.

Other solar-cooker types, and their plans, are available for inspection at:

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