UCL Division of Biosciences


Biosciences students win UCL Student Covid-19 Recovery Challenge (SCRC) to prevent plastic pollution

10 August 2020

Sachi Shah (MSci Biochemistry), Jiarui Li (Y1 Pharmacology), Nishika Jain & Priyanka Rachel Peres (Biological Sciences) won 1st Prize in the UCL Student Covid-19 Recovery Challenge with their idea to prevent plastic pollution from increased PPE use as result of the pandemic.

winning team SCRC

Created in response to a sharp rise in plastic pollution and the death of sanitation workers across the world, Covicycle is a scalable and sustainable solution to collecting, sterilizing and recycling public PPE waste that is emerging from the Covid-19 crisis.

Sachi Shah said, "We at Covicycle aspire to create a cleaner, healthier world upon emergence from the Covid-19 crisis.

"We aim to collect public PPE waste (gloves and masks) at local collection points in popular supermarkets - every 5 days. This is brought to the Covicycle warehouse, where it will undergo medical-grade sterilisation in UV cabinets (for gloves) and masks by an autoclave. The sterile masks will undergo quality checks, get stamped with Covicycle logos and then packaged - to be resold via our online website. The gloves would be weighed and packed into boxes to be delivered to our partner recycling company such as ‘Terracycle’ for recycling. Covicycle will earn a percentage of the sales (per kg) of the products made from the gloves. This income will be used to fund employee salaries and expand the business to include hospitals and pharmaceutical companies. 

"Our idea generates employment, thereby generating positive economic growth. This contributes to sustainable development and pushes towards a greener economy."

Quote from the judges: "They felt the idea was feasible, sustainable and would have a significant impact."