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Product Design Challenge Winners Announced

The Cradle to Cradle Product Innovation Institute has selected its winners for its annual design challenge. The contest was run in partnership with Autodesk and Alcoa. Entrants could submit to one of four categories: Best Student Project, Best Professional Project, Best Use of Aluminum and Best Use of Autodesk Fusion 360.

● Best Student Project: Gabriella Jacobsen, a student at Virginia Tech, designed the Onward Bag to address the issue of plastic bags being a major pollutant in oceans and waterways. It is made from 60-70 recycled plastic bags, a yard of organic cotton canvas, canvas thread, and biodegradable dye. The product is designed to be capable of reducing overall plastic waste and reducing carbon dioxide emissions by taking advantage of the embodied energy in the already processed plastic bags.

● Best Professional Project: Barent Roth, a designer and educator, is recognized for his BikeShare Helmet, a simple unisex style bike helmet designed specifically to integrate with the growing bike share community. The BikeShare Helmet uses a recycled aluminum foam shell and a sustainably grown cork liner to provide maximum protection with minimal bulk and weight while ensuring all materials are either recycled or composted.

● Best Use of Autodesk Fusion 360: The Engineers for a Sustainable World Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) Chapter developed a recyclable broom with a bristle head made of highly biodegradable material that can be replaced independently of the broom’s other components. With the functionality of three brooms, but with the material and monetary costs of one, the broom they named “Sweeping the Nation with Change” provides significant environmental and economic benefits.

● Best Use of Aluminum: Michiel Meurs and his team designed the AtoB Seat, a seat for public transport made from recycled aluminum, recycled PET, and formaldehyde free bamboo plywood. At end of use, the AtoB Seat can be reclaimed by the manufacturer to determine which parts will be reused or recycled. It offers a sustainable solution for seating in public transportation infrastructure by allowing for easy cleaning, maintenance, disassembly, and recyclability.

“The Design Challenge is a powerful demonstration of designing with intention to ensure materials in manufactured products retain their value and can be perpetually upcycled,” said Institute Interim President Lewis Perkins. “This year’s winners each exemplify the quest for material health and reuse, and they have brought us one step closer to the goal of a circular market standard.”

For more information, visit the Cradle to Cradle Product Innovation Institute.

Sources: Press materials received from the company and additional information gleaned from the company’s website.

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