Miniwiz, Taiwan’s circular economy pioneer
Posted on May, 15th 2018.
This young company, whose entire business model is built around upcycling, turns waste into high-performance materials.
In Taiwan, which is proud of its 55% average recycling rate (and 67% in the capital, Taipei), more and more companies - like Miniwiz - are involved in waste recovery.
Founded in 2005 in Taipei by architect and engineer Arthur Huang, the company uses innovative processes to transform industrial and household waste into building materials, building modules, furniture and design objects.
In 2007, Miniwiz developed the HYmini, a device combining a mini-wind turbine and a portable solar panel, which can charge small electronic devices. Designed from recycled electronic waste, plastic and paper, the HYmini project will be the first in a long line of inventions that all achieve one goal: better performance for a zero carbon world.
But it's with the EcoARK pavilion, erected at the 2010 Taipei International Floralies that Miniwiz is attracting international attention. This nine floor, 130-meter-long building was built from Polli-Brick, a high-tech, seamless "brick" developed by Miniwiz from recycled plastic bottles.
The plastic waste is processed and molded into bricks by injection blow molding (in the shape of bottles!). The bricks fit together like Lego to form a honeycomb structure, making the building 50% lighter than a conventional building, but strong enough to withstand the vagaries of the weather (especially typhoons) and fire. More than 1.5 million plastic bottles collected throughout the island were used in the finished building.
In 2015 in Davos, Miniwiz received the World Economic Forum (WEF) Technology Pioneer award in the "Energy, Environment, Infrastructure" category. It was the first Taiwanese company to gain such recognition.
Miniwiz now employs over forty people specializing in various disciplines, including structural engineering, architecture, chemical engineering and process science - and uses Design Thinking to create unique solutions with the ultimate goal of substituting recycled materials for virgin materials.
Towards a new plastics economy