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Category: 3D Printing

3D Printing and the Future of Waste Management

3D Printing and the Future of Waste Management

Does your recycling bin runneth over?

thinking about what you can do with your recycling

Do you ever wish that you had control over how your waste is recycled? Maybe you’d use all those plastic bottles to create some new furniture to spruce up your home…

Getting excited about the prospect of a new piece of furniture

Imagine being free to redecorate your home whenever you like without having to trek to one of those huge and overwhelming furniture stores. You could even rejuvenate your old furniture, transforming it into something fresh…

Avoid the shops, make your own furniture instead

But how?

It’s fairly evident that 3D printing is a game changer. Small 3D printers are becoming the norm in people’s homes, but what if we had access to domestic 3D printers on a larger scale? Recycling infrastructure and personal taste would collide to create something great! People would have the means to acquire things that they want without having to invest in expensive materials.

You might worry that such a large 3D printer would lead to skyrocketing power bills, but what if it was powered by a microbial fuel cell? All your organic waste, those smelly rotten food scraps, could become the fuel that powers the manufacturing of your fancy new furniture!

food scraps for biofuel

It would be like turning all your trash into treasure!

After collecting your fuel and materials all you’d need to do was design your furniture and send it to print!

Modeling furniture on CAD to have 3D printed

Adding a bottle to the 3D printing machine

A large scale 3D printing and recycling system might even become a part of the community, where locals collect their recycled materials and organic waste together to help each other build new objects to use and enjoy.

I wonder if this could this be a system that runs autonomously without the need for virgin materials, or could it lead to material hording and increasingly expensive, over packaged products? Could it revolutionize and democratize design and manufacturing in a way that means that  ‘bad’ design no longer matters? If you can can just throw a product back in the 3D printing machine and print a new, better design, do you even need to worry about whether it is ‘just right’?

What would you make if you could create great ‘new’ things without the environmental costs?

– H.F.G.

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