loading video...

garbage collector by student scoops ocean trash with waves

‘SHIELD’ relies on the sea to collect garbage 


Student Zeteng Yan from Tsinghua University has created a nearshore garbage collector named SHIELD that makes use of the waves to accumulate ocean trash. Since it’s ideal for by-the-shore collecting, he ties a rope at the front and rear of the collector to avoid the collector from being lost in the sea.


It can also help users drag the garbage collector to the place they want it to suck the trash, tapping into their kid energy as they navigate the water as if the tool were a flying kite.

garbage collector student
images courtesy of Zeteng Yan, via James Dyson Award



When the waves push the pieces of trash into SHIELD, the ridges keep them hanging on the equipment and prevent them from floating back into the sea. The collector has two levels where the ground floor collects the trash that has slightly sunk in the water while the upper level is ready to eat the floaters the waves carry.


SHIELD needs no energy to function since it relies on ocean waves to collect nearshore floating garbage. The users don’t even have to press anything, but just guide the garbage collector and make sure it doesn’t swim with the trash in the sea using the rope.

garbage collector by student
prototype of SHIELD



Non-electric and low-maintenance garbage collector


During the design process, Yan also thought of devising a tool that would require low maintenance, thus the non-electric and non-manual operation of SHIELD. While it might not solve sea-encompassing trash – just like how The Ocean Cleanup does it here – Yan’s garbage collector can intercept and capture the trash that tourists on beaches typically produce. The sea never sleeps with its waves, so tying up the tool around a post stuck in the shore sand and leaving SHIELD to do its magic oversight while everyone sleeps is possible.

garbage collector by student
Yan testing his garbage collector



Yan has given commercial industries another idea of how they can mass-produce a product individuals can use and carry on their own to help collect ocean trash. If users think that the trash will float away when they use SHIELD, Yan is one step ahead of them.


He opens the back part of the collector to house and accumulate the pieces of garbage while it’s still on the water. When users are done, they can just tug the rope, properly throw away the trash, and repeat the cycle. Yan’s design was a runner-up in The James Dyson Award.

garbage collector by student
a paper-based bowl stuck in the collector


garbage collector ‘SHIELD’ by Zeteng Yan

garbage collector by student
a rope is tied at the front and rear of SHIELD

garbage collector by student
prototype testing


garbage collector ‘SHIELD’ by Zeteng Yan


project info:


name: SHIELD

designer: Zeteng Yan

suscribe on designboom
- see sample
- see sample
suscribe on designboom


a diverse digital database that acts as a valuable guide in gaining insight and information about a product directly from the manufacturer, and serves as a rich reference point in developing a project or scheme.