Most of the single use plastic that comes into our lives can be recycled, but there are some items like chip and snack bags that can't go in the recycling bin. 3D Brooklyn has partnered with Terracycle, the company known for recycling materials that aren't typically recyclable, to produce something new and useful from that waste plastic.
Terracycle takes the plastic snack bags that they collect and turns them into plastic pellets that they send to 3D Brooklyn where the pellets are then made into an
ABS PP/PE polymer filament.
One of the major criticisms of 3D printing is that it just creates more plastic waste in our lives, especially in the case of failed printings that have to be redone, and that there aren't enough ways to use recycled materials in the process.We've written before about the Filabot, a desktop plastic recycling system that turns waste household plastic and even botched 3D-printed objects into 3D printer filament at home. That amazing gadget unfortunately also comes with an amazing price tag, costing $949.
This partnership with Terracycle is giving 3D printer users an easier and cheaper way to use recycled filament in their designs while also taking something like snack bags that usually end up in the landfill and turning them into something new and useful.
"With the (3D printing) industry growing so rapidly, it's important we provide a recycled alternative to virgin plastic filaments," TerraCycle CEO Tom Szaky said to Gizmag. "It's essential to maintaining a sustainable industry."
Each 1-pound spool of filament contains 45 recycled polypropylene and polyethylene bags and goes for $24 on the 3D Brooklyn website. 3D Brooklyn is also using the plastic in printing projects of their own.
You can hear more about the process in the video below.