Plastic is Recycled Into Ink for 3D Printers

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Netherlands-based 3D printing project, “Perpetual Plastic,” is using plastic cups and other garbage to create recycled ink for 3D printing.

According to 3Ders.org, the project’s focus is on recycling plastics on a local level, as well as creating consumer awareness on new ways to recycle.

Perpetual Plastic was started by the design firm Better Future Factory, and was founded by six industrial designers from the Technical University in Delft. The project allows visitors to access the machinery that is used to recycle plastics and provides them with a first-hand experience on how plastic cups are recycled into usable goods.

According to 3Ders, Dutch newspaper NRC reports that one of the long term goals of the project is to use the concept of recycling plastics through 3D printing technology to create a circular economy and tackle global problems like the plastic soup floating in the Pacific.

At the project’s site, visitors can walk through each of the steps involved in the recycling process and are able to go through the steps of washing, drying, shredding, extruding, and finally 3D printing.

At the end of the process, visitors are given customized 3D printed rings made from the recycled plastic. The project’s founders hope that the rings will help to commemorate the experience and will serve as conversation starters on the new recycling concept.

While the project is currently only using PLA in their recycling process, the group is working towards recycling other plastics as well and hopes to one day develop a world-wide recycling network through 3D printers.