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UEL student designs winning bin to tackle plastic waste on British beaches 

Green roofs

Laura-Monica Carusato says her design will make plastic plastic disposal fun 

A specially designed ‘beach bin’ created by a student at the University of East London (UEL) has been selected the winner of a competition to help reduce plastic pollution on Britain’s beaches. 

Laura-Monica Carusato, a first year Product Design student, won the contest sponsored by environmental charity GreenSeas Trust. The charity asked UEL students to come up with a bin that would encourage more people to recycle and thus help prevent plastic waste from ending up in the sea. 

Laura, 19, designed a bright orange tube similar to the ventilation tubes seen on large ships. 

She said, “I picked this design as it’s nautical, so it fits well on a beach. And it’s bright so it can’t be missed. It’s designed so people don’t just place or drop plastic waste in the bin, they throw it in, so it becomes fun, something children and adults can enjoy, like playing basketball.” 

Laura’s bin was selected over the creations of 10 other UEL Product Design students. On Wednesday, the students presented their final prototypes to a panel of judges which included Karen Sherwood, a development and team project manager with Biffa, an integrated waste management company in the UK. 

She said, “Laura’s prototype won for its originality of design, ease of use, and because it would be practical to clean and empty.”

Ms Sherwood explained that Biffa will make a financial contribution towards the manufacture of the bin. The company is liaising with  Arun Council, West Sussex, to trial the bin on one of its beaches.

As part of the research process students spent a day with GreenSeas Trust, visiting Littlehampton beach in West Sussex to learn more about the challenges of waste on Britain’s coastlines and the impact it has on health and wildlife. The outing was reported on BBC Southern News.

The Trust, which is based in London, focuses on educational and practical efforts to keep the UK’s seas clean and free of plastics.

Competition judge Darren Wingrove, a project manager with Logoplaste Innovation Lab, said finding solutions to the problem of plastic waste is crucial.

He said, “We manufacture plastic bottles, so of course this is really important to us. I work in our design and sustainability team, so making sure that external packaging like plastic drinking bottles doesn’t get thrown on beaches and then end up in the sea is a priority.”

Winner Laura said she is excited about seeing her prototype make a real difference in the future.