This isn't a design competition, but rather a competition to see if you can come up with a way to improve an existing and incomplete recycling system.
The waste product in question is recreational fishing line, which comes in two varieties, monofilament and braided. A system exists to recycle both types: It's melted down into pellets, which can be used again as raw material by the manufacturers that purchase it.
The problem is that fishing line rarely gets tossed into a recycling container by itself. It's typically got weights, hooks and/or soft bait lures attached to it, and it may be wrapped around something it picked up in the water. These extraneous objects need to be painstakingly removed, and the line cleared of all debris before it can go into the recycling facility. If any of these extra objects are missed and melted down with the fishing line, the whole batch becomes unusable.
With these problems in mind, the Boat U.S. Foundation and gear company Berkley Fishing have teamed up to host the Recast & Recycle Contest. The contest seeks a better way to recycle fishing line--and any way to recycle soft bait, which is made from polyvinyl chloride and practically never gets recycled--and offering 1st, 2nd and 3rd prizes of $15,000, $10,000 and $5,000, respectively.
Here are the areas for which they're seeking ideas:
- What other processes besides melting could be used?
- What else could be done with the contaminated line?
- What else could be made from this material?
- Are there new end products that will engage those who are using the fishing line and baits to encourage them to recycle?
The contest points out that they're looking for entrants to solve all or even just some of the problems:
[Your contribution] could be tackling a single part of the process like sorting and cleaning the line, reengineering the entire process or coming up with a new end product for the recycled material. We want to hear all the ideas! There is no limit to the possibilities, but keep these things in mind:
- Is it innovative?
- Is it possible/practical?
- Is the end product useful?
- What's the impact of the idea?
These aren't easy problems to crack, but the good news is, you'll have plenty of time to think about it: The deadline for submissions is May 14th of 2021. You can learn more here.