University of Nottingham Ningbo China Students Win International Awards With Sustainable Design Works

NINGBO, China--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Home pregnancy test kits are typically made from plastic, and their consumption contributes to a large amount of plastic waste every year. A University of Nottingham Ningbo China (UNNC) graduate, Ruiheng Lan, and an academic staff member, Dr Xu Sun proposed a solution to minimise the use of plastic in the production of pregnancy test kits. Their design, titled “Eco Collector” was awarded the iF Design Award for 2021.

During market research, Ruiheng noticed that conventional test kits use disposable plastic cups for urine collection and their packages are primarily made of plastic. He also found that consumers’ concerns regarding traditional test kits include the large size of the package and the steps necessary to get a test result.

The new design co-developed by Ruiheng and Dr Xu Sun uses recyclable and bio-degradable materials for the test kit package. The package can be split into paper, which after folding can take the sample urine and drop it into the testing paper, combining the functions of disposable plastic droppers and cups.

Their solution not only eliminates the use of disposable plastic cups for urine collection, but also streamlines the testing procedure and reduces the package size.

Dr Sun said that they received initially the design request from a local company in Ningbo, and the new pregnancy test kits will be on market shelves soon.

Ruiheng Lan is a Product Design and Manufacture (PDM) graduate and Dr Xu Sun is an Associate Professor in Product Design and Manufacture at UNNC. Under Dr Sun’s supervision, many students have won international design awards with their work that speaks to sustainable development goals.

This year, in addition to Ruiheng Lan, a PDM student, Yang Chen was awarded an iF Design Talent Award for 2021 for her innovative solution to encourage the reuse and recycling of clothes. Named “Rewind”, her design enables buyers of second-hand clothes to trace the source of purchase, connect with the previous owner and further share the experience of wearing the item of clothing when reselling it. Concerned with the wasteful consumption and production of clothing, Yang Chen hopes her design could give stronger incentives for people to recycle used clothes instead of creating textile waste.