Levente Szabó from Moholy-Nagy University of Art & Design, Hungary, has won the Electrolux Design Lab 2007 competition with E-Wash, a compact washing machine that uses soap nuts instead of detergent.
The 2007 Electrolux Design Lab challenged students to come up with environmentally sound, commercially viable products and solutions that would enable consumers to live in greater harmony with the environment.
In India and Nepal, people have used the soap nut (Sapindus mucorossi) for centuries to get their clothes clean. Szabó says that a kilogram of soap nuts would last the typical person a year, and soap nuts are good for people with allergies and gentle on clothes.
"E-wash is a brilliant connection between ancient knowledge and high-tech," comments juror Henrik Otto, Head of Global Design for Electrolux. "It takes someone open-minded to look for solutions from somewhere else and apply them to his own culture."
"The soap nut is a natural plant and can be cultivated. It does not harm nature but is a part of it," said Szabó. "The other problem was the form of conventional washing machine. I reduced the size and made it flat, so it would fit into a small apartment, but also would be able to wash a lot of clothes at the same time."
Read about the other winners.
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