Japan – Asuka Kamiya, a 12-year-old from Jozan Elementary School in Anjo, Japan, has obtained a patent for her innovative can recycling bin, the Japan Times has reported. The machine uses a magnet to automatically separate steel and aluminium containers.
The recycling bin, which was built initially for Kamiya’s science project, features the normal two compartments; however, the slot for inserting the cans is over one of the compartments instead of over the centre, and the magnet is attached on the side. The ‘best part’ about her recycling bin is that she attached a very thin 3 cm curved plastic board under the slot to direct steel cans to the separate compartment.
Describing her invention as a low-cost recycling solution, Kamiya was inspired to create the device when she saw her grandfather separate empty cans next to a vending machine. ‘The work seemed hard for grandpa,’ she explains. ‘I thought of how I could help him.’
According to the Japan Institute of Invention and Innovation in Tokyo, it is quite rare for someone so young to hold a patent. It estimates that there are fewer than 10 elementary school students to date who can claim such an achievement.