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EDB student Ketki Mehta awarded joint runner up in the People.Planet.Product design challenge

20 December 2021

Ketki Mehta
Ketki Mehta

Ketki Mehta, an MSc Environmental Design of Buildings (distance-learning) student in the Welsh School of Architecture, has been awarded joint runner up in the People.Planet.Product design challenge.

The challenge was launched earlier this year by Electrocomponents plc in collaboration with the company's first global social enterprise partner, The Washing Machine Project; a humanitarian initiative dedicated to alleviating the burden of hand-washing in low-income and displaced communities, through innovative product design and distribution.

Ketki’s entry for the challenge involved the design of a new filter for a washing machine made from a degradable bamboo casing instead of ceramic filters that are toxic to marine life and often end up in landfill. She said:

“I started researching biodegradable materials and found bamboo based cellulose fibres could be made into very compact filters that can remove nanoparticles and therefore microplastics from the wastewater.

Cellulose fibres are easily available products, and known to filter particles as small as 5 microns. They are currently used as an environment friendly alternative to Diatomaceous Earth for use in D.E. Pool Filters. These have proven their use in filtering swimming pool water, and therefore are safe and healthy to use and conform to appropriate standards. A degradable bamboo casing for these fibres can be designed, to make them fully biodegradable. This solves the problem of filters creating more landfill rubbish or worse ending up with toxic materials in the environment.”

All six finalists pitched their designs at a live virtual event to a panel of judges from leading industry and humanitarian organisations that share the common goal of helping to improve lives. Each of the three winners received £1000 in RS products or a cash equivalent to support their prototype development, plus access to a business mentor and a knowledge session with The Washing Machine Project founder, Navjot Sawhney.

To find out more about our unique MSc in Environmental Design of Buildings and how to apply, please visit the course pages.