Japan, 12-year-old patents a new separate collection system

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A student at the primary school invents an automatic box which separates aluminum cans from steel ones, thanks to a magnet.

The child prodigy of the circular economy comes from Japan. Her name is Asuka Kamiya, she is 12 years old and has just patented an innovative bin for separate collection, which uses a magnet to automatically separate steel containers from aluminum ones.

According to The Japan Times, the girl is a student at the primary school in Anjo, Japan. The device, far from being designed by engineering teams in aseptic laboratories, is simply the result of Kamira’s science-homework. The girl has come up with a simple but revolutionary solution. The bin, apparently, is not different to a normal one for separate collection: as usual, it has two compartments, but the hole for cans is only one, in the center of the basket. The magnet is attached to one of the two sides and, when a citizen puts a steel can in, it is attracted to the side and slides along a thin plastic track, ending into the right compartment.

Kamiya’s idea, that she describes as “a low cost solution for recycling“, came one day by chance, as she watched her father separating empty cans next to a vending machine. “It seemed to me that daddy had difficulty separating the cans – said the girl – so I wanted to help him.” Having a patent at the age of 12 is, to say the least, bizarre even for the Japanese Institute for Inventions and Innovation in Tokyo, which defines the case “very rare”. It is estimated that there are less than 10 primary school’s students in the world that have achieved that goal. Kamiya has succeeded in a promising and innovative sector: the circular economy.

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