It’s an ordinary day at the office. While she works, Manuela remembers some of the individual trash cans that she used to have under the tables. Specifically, there were 4,400 throughout the building, and they were replaced by containers with which employees can better classify and separate waste. Manuela asks herself a question: how could these bins be used and given a second life?

Manuela is actually Manuela Borao, an engineer who works in the Circular Economy area of ​​Repsol. And his question, by the way, had an answer: “He told us that he wanted to give the retired bins a second chance, but he was not sure how to do it and how they could be used,” recalls Laura Vicente, head of the Social Transformation Area at Fundación Repsol. . The conditions were in place to create, starting from a personal concern, an entire project with a marked social character.

The first step to find the solution was taken at Acteco, a company from Ibi (Alicante) that is responsible for collecting, recycling and recovering waste. The removed bins were located, Acteco was in charge of shredding them and, with their plastic, made filaments for 3D printers. These filaments were donated to Ayúdame3D, a Spanish social entity that applies the social value of technology to manufacture prostheses and other devices to help vulnerable people. The idea was taking shape: they would make a ‘spoon grabber’ that would allow people with motor disabilities to eat soup or liquid food independently. “Our role was the creation and design of the devices from scratch thanks to the material – polypropylene – of Repsol’s litter bins,” explains Guillermo Gauna-Vivas, founder of Ayúdame3D.

The last stop on this trip took place at the Bobath Foundation, dedicated to the care of people with cerebral palsy, where the ‘spoon grabber’ was tested with its potential users. Something as seemingly simple as eating with a spoon has become a leap in the autonomy of these people, as well as an improvement in their quality of life.

“For us, it has been a very nice experience because we have had people from different sectors who have contributed their point of view to create and improve this support product,” continues Gauna-Vivas. “We have taught them to design, to create and to see how we can use technology to help. That is to say, we have given it the touch of empathy that technology needs so that we all realize that it can solve problems.”

Actions like that of Manuela Borao, who took the first step in joint work, contribute to a shared challenge: applying the circular economy and, in addition, improving the quality of life of people with motor disabilities. A happy ending with which she could not be more satisfied: “I take away the joy of seeing Repsol colleagues so involved and the pride of being able to help with something that was born from an idea, from a dream, and to which people finally turn. for whom it can really improve their lives.”