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An Eco-Friendly Aquarium

We transform rubber waste into underwater decoration—providing a new eco-friendly solution to an aquarium.

Photo of Eric DeRuvira Lan
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We created a series of recyclable building blocks for the decoration of an aquarium from Nike Grind materials. The demand for family indoor aquariums is rising since more and more city people have limited access to nature and are trying to obtain a natural environment around them. There are many components in an aquarium. Besides the underwater lives, the decoration is a major concern and the key to an attractive aquarium. 

However, as we observe, most materials used in the process of decoration come from nature. Sands, rocks, wood, coral reef and so on are usually the objects people use to furnish their aquariums. The acquiring of these materials consumes many natural resources and imposes a certain level of environmental impact. Moreover, most used materials in an aquarium will go straight to a landfill or an incinerator and never be used again at the end of their lifetime.  

To mitigate the depletion of natural resources and prolong the lifetime of the materials, we decided to propose a solution which uses recycled rubber as decoration material to make an eco-friendly aquarium. Building blocks made of Nike Grind rubber will replace the natural materials commonly used in an aquarium and act as the medium to create a nature-like underwater environment.  

Company / Organization Name (if applicable)

Sector of Sustainable Management and Innovative Technology, Foundation of Taiwan Industry Service

Website (if applicable)

https://www.ftis.org.tw

Which Nike Grind materials will your idea utilize?

  • Rubber Granulate

How specifically will these materials be incorporated into your solution?

Rubber granulates from NIKE Grind will be the main source of the eco-friendly building blocks for aquariums. The fabrication process is simple, which is composed of only three steps. First, we design a series of reusable molds for different specification of building blocks. The specification includes various dimension and can be customized. Second, we mix the rubber granulates with epoxy resin to form a sticky solution. The solution is injected into a mold of the desired dimension. As the solution fills the space of the mold, the structure of a building block is formed. Third, we demould the formed building blocks from the molds. After drying in the ambient environment, the building blocks for eco-friendly aquariums are thus formed. The granulates in the building blocks present porous surfaces which resemble the texture of coral reefs where underwater creatures can inhabit.

Please include a visual (can be either 2D or 3D) representation/prototype of your concept. (required)

This prototype is a basic unit of the building block. It is a cuboid of 3 centimeters in both length and width and 2 centimeters in height, with connecting parts on the top and bottom surface.

What is the current stage of development of your idea?

  • Research & Early Testing

Describe your target market. Who will benefit from your product?

The eco-friendly building blocks are aimed at the aquarium market. Private owners of an aquarium, public institutions, and schools can benefit from this solution since fewer materials are required and less environmental impact is caused.

How will you scale your idea? Please describe in detail your plan to scale your concept.

Although the aquarium market is on the rise, the initial entry of this idea to the market is critical since most people are already used to decorate an aquarium with natural materials. Thus, it is a better way to start from places where innovation is hailed. We will promote this idea through environmental education. Promotion in schools and public institutions are the first connections we are looking for. By fostering the awareness of how the eco-friendly building blocks can mitigate the impact on the environment, we can promote this idea to the aimed targets.

How is your idea innovative?

The eco-friendly building blocks present a very small circular lifecycle. Since they are made of recycled rubber and the production process requires little chemical and physical change, they can be recyclable at the end of their lifetime. This means that as the Nike Grind rubber granulates turn into the building blocks for aquariums, they also preserve a possibility of regeneration or becoming other products made of rubber. By this model, we can reduce the impact on the environment to the least.

What inspired this idea?

One of our teammates observed the possible environmental impact caused by the enormous use of natural materials in an aquarium. As a consultant in sustainability, he devised this idea by thinking how we can reuse the materials of recycled shoes and reduce the environmental impact of an aquarium.

Tell us about yourself and your team. What is your background and experience?

Our team is composed of a project manager and two engineers. We are specialized in environmental management systems, environmental engineering and materials science. We are the core executive members of the Green Factory Labelling system in Taiwan.

In what city are you located?

Taipei city

In what country are you located?

Taiwan

What is your legal / organizational structure? (if applicable)

foundation of corporation

Please describe how becoming a Top Idea will support the growth of your concept.

Public attention is what takes this solution to the next level. Since environmental protection in daily life is crucial., we need to stop exploiting nature and lengthen material life cycle as much as we can. That this idea becomes a top idea will increase the public awareness of how aquarium might affect nature and how we can try to mitigate the impact on the environment by adapting recycled building blocks, which can further be recycled and reused again, as the ornaments of an aquarium.

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