Izhar Gafni and the same team behind the already world-famous cardboard bicycle have added a few other items to their repertoire, including a cardboard wheelchair. After news of the dirt-cheap cardboard bicycle raced around the globe, an international non-profit organization contacted Israelis Nimrod Elmish and Izhar Gafni of I.G. Cardboard Technologies about developing a cardboard wheelchair that could be distributed to disabled Africans. So they set about making a prototype, which, it turns out, was actually less complicated than the bicycle.
Elmish told Israel 21C that the wheelchair will be made out of less than $10 worth of durable recycled cardboard, plastic bottles and recycled tires, materials.
He added that anything that can be made out of wood, plastic or metal can be made with their material as well, including toys, wagons, chairs for airplanes and cars.
“We’re not building cars yet,” he told the paper. “But I say, ‘yet.’ We believe that nothing is impossible and anything is possible.”
At present, the non-government organization that distributes wheelchairs to people in Africa who can’t afford to buy their own spend $6 million each year purchasing 120,000 metal chairs from China.
Elmish said that they can build a factory for that same amount of money, but then, once it is running, the plant would be able to spin out wheelchairs for next to nothing. Plus, the factory could be staffed by disabled people.
As long as it is easy enough to access old car tires, and we all know there’s no shortage of those in Africa, along with plastic and cardboard recycling plants, the venture could work.
The cardboard wheelchair weighs less than 20 pounds but supports up to 400 pounds, it can resist both moisture and humidity, and there is no maintenance required.
This, the cardboard bicycle, a youth bike and a cardboard electric vehicle are all expected to be rolled out in exactly one year.
:: Israel 21C
Image: silhouette of a wheelchair, Shutterstock