The Plastics Industry Awards (PIA) celebrates and promotes the best our sector has to offer and Plastek UK, as past winners in several categories, was delighted in 2021 to sponsor the Young Designer of the Year award category.

Now, in January 2022, Plastek’s Vice President (Europe) Mick Shaw and Customer Services Manager Danielle Harkness have made the trip to London South Bank University to present PIA’s chosen Young Designer of the Year, Radha Ukani, with her winner’s trophy and £500 prize, donated by Plastek group.

“Innovation in the design of products and processes is at the heart of Plastek Group’s ambitious growth plans,” explained Mick Shaw. “Given the lead we have taken in publicly declaring our carbon footprint via the Carbon Disclosure Project and our continuous programme of reductions in environmental impact both at the point of manufacture and throughout the product lifecycle, we were especially pleased that Radha’s award-winning design has such a strong environmental bias.”

Radha’s impressive ‘Zerowaste’ design is aimed at producing valuable biogas for use in cooking in the world’s most rural households.

Human waste, which would otherwise simply be a problem needing suitable disposal, is instead collected and added to a barrel container. The biogas is then produced via an anaerobic digestion process within a cylinder digester and stored for later use in an HDPE bag. A PVC pipe with a built-in 3-way valve takes the biogas directly to a suitable cooking appliance.

After 20 days, the estimated biogas yield based on a single individual is an amazing 2100 litres, and the exhausted residue can be removed via an outlet in the rear of the barrel and safely used as fertiliser.

“At Plastek we are increasingly talking to our customers about new and better ways to help the world move towards a Circular Economy,” added Mick, “which avoids the creation of waste by removing unnecessary production and re-using materials that would otherwise become waste.

“Radha Ukani’s ingenious design has great potential and couldn’t be a better match for what we, our suppliers, and our customers are working hard to achieve. We wish her every success with her studies.”