Could 3D printing put a dent in reducing plastic waste? Better Future Factory thinks it could!
But, before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s take a little crash course on 3D printing.
As the name suggests, the process allows a user to essentially “print” a three-dimensional object from a digital file. The printing process involves the layering of material or filament in thin sheets to create the desired object. Consequently, 3D printing is also sometimes referred to as additive manufacturing.
3D printing techniques have been around since the 1980s, but in recent years, applications of the technology have been increasing. These uses range from commercial to personal.
Looking Into the Future
The folks at Better Future Factory are looking to apply 3D printing technology for another purpose: recycling. Their Perpetual Plastic Project centers on the idea that old plastic materials and products could be used as filament for the 3D printing process instead of fresh raw material. In turn, new products could be made from these recycled items quickly to meet the consumer demand for a given product.
This project could change the value consumers place on plastics and encourage the recycling of plastic items. That container of mouthwash looks much more valuable when you know it could be instantly turned into a plastic pot for some flowers with your 3D printer!
Based on their work so far, they have determined certain plastics that can be used as filament. Testing is still ongoing and they are looking for additional plastic filament options.
It’s Party Time
So what does all this mean for consumers? Well, imagine one day in the future where you are having a huge party full of hungry and thirsty guests.
You don’t need to go to the store to purchase plastic plates and cups for the shindig. Just print the plates and cups you need for the party from your plastic recyclables you’ve accumulated in your blue bin! Voila! Instant party!
Keep an eye on Better Future Factory and their Perpetual Plastic Project as they continue to push the boundaries of waste and recycling.
Images graciously provided courtesy of Perpetual Plastic Project