People and Places
28/08/2019
From bottle tops to prosthetic hands

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Did you know that bottle tops are fully recyclable? And did you know that even though they are recyclable, they are heading straight to landfill? Cripes!

As is so often the case, our children are leading the way with innovative and enthusiastic ideas to help save the planet and while doing so are making sure that others benefit along the way. A dedicated group of compassionate eco-warriors at Dromana Primary School are working hard at collecting plastic bottle tops, which will be used for creating prosthetic limbs for kids in need But how? Let’s ask Dromana Primary Science and Indigenous Studies specialist teacher Shanai Kellet.

“The Envision Hands project, as part of Envision.org, creates bespoke aids out of bottle tops with 3D printers,” Shanai says. “Two of our students, Jack and Leroy Christie (pictured), had the idea of collecting plastic bottle tops at school and are encouraging everyone to bring them from home as well. They presented a PowerPoint at school assembly which outlined how we could make a difference to the environment and to children in under-serviced countries who needed prosthetic limbs. Five hundred bottle lids make one child’s prosthetic hand. They also calculated that the Dromana Primary School canteen sold approximately 500 plastic bottled items every two weeks.” Do the maths, people!

This is how the process works. Each class at Dromana Primary School has a box in their room and the environmental school captains and action squad collect the boxes which are full of plastic bottle tops. They are then transferred to a dump point. The closet one to Dromana is the Dromana Community House. Envision Hands then extrudes the high-density polyethylene to create functioning filament for 3D printers and then prints all the components to make up a hand. Brilliant.

This project is close to the hearts of Jack and Leroy. Leroy was born with clubfoot and wears a plastic brace and understands that sometimes you need a little help. Along with Billy Robertson, the two brothers head up the Dromana Primary School’s Envision team with the dream of making a real difference. One bottle top at a time. 

To find out more about Envision Hands, go to www.envision.org.au/envision-hands

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