Although the most environmentally friendly plastic is the one that already exists (because collecting used plastic, grinding it down and melting it into new shapes consumes significant energy). What if energy were renewable and non polluting? Wouldn’t it open up many new and interesting recycling opportunities, even small scale manufacture from home?
You have to admire designer Dave Hakkens‘s ingenuity and determination. With a focus on environmental design he recently introduced the Phone Bloks design concept and now this low cost recycling and plastic molding DIY system.
Dave discovered that less than 10% of plastic in Holland is recycled, this is mainly because factories refuse to pass lower grade plastics through their expensive machines. So he decided to explore opportunities in scaling down the recycling and production process and bringing closer to the consumer. He designed and built a small scale mold shop to test out the feasibility of making plastic products from a small workshop, or even your home; a project he calls Precious Plastic.
Though the process currently seems a bit messy and not user friendly enough for the average consumer, it’s a very good insight into the potential of 3D printers in the near future.
Consider that most of us already own an inkjet or laser printer and that this was unheard of 30 years ago. So following this logic its clear that the step to incorporating a plastic printer into our array of home appliances really isn’t such a long one to take.
For more info on the complexity of recycling read “Cradle to Cradle” by William Mcdonough and Michael Braugart, or click to read my review HERE
Which makes you wonder, could the Nike Flyknit Lunar1+ “Team Orange” upper be woven from a mixed colour recycled PE yarn (non-bleached and non-dyed)? A shortened, quicker process that would also eliminate the use bleaching and dying chemicals as well as reducing energy consumption.