You've probably heard talk about "3D printing", in fact, this amazing technology, has become public, and will in the future upsets the whole system of existing manufacturing!
People who Make their own stuff with a 3-D printer is vastly cheaper than what they’d pay for manufactured goods, even factoring in the cost of buying the plastic filament (Source: a study provided by Michigan Technological University)
Yet, they can drive the cost down even more by making their own filament from old milk jugs. And, while they are patting theyself on the back for saving 99 cents on the dollar, there’s a bonus: they can feel warm and fuzzy about preserving the environment.
A study led by Joshua Pearce of Michigan Technological University has shown that making their own plastic 3D printer filament from milk jugs uses less energy — often a lot less — than recycling milk jugs conventionally.
Pearce’s team did a life-cycle analysis on a run-of-the-mill milk jug made from HDPE plastic. After cleaning it and cutting it in pieces, they ran it through an office shredder and a RecycleBot, which turns waste plastic into 3D printer filament.
Compared to an ideal urban recycling program, which collects and processes plastic locally, turning milk jugs into filament at home uses about 3 percent less energy. “Where it really shows substantial savings is in smaller towns like Houghton, where you have to transport the plastic to be collected, then again to be recycled, and a third time to be made into products,” said Pearce, an associate professor of materials science and engineering/
Pearce also compared the cost of making their own filament with buying it.“Filament is retailing for between $36 and $50 a kilogram, and people can produce their own filament for 10 cents a kilogram if they use recycled plastic,” he said. “There’s a clear incentive, even if you factor in the cost of buying the RecycleBot.”
This new recycling technology has caught the eye of the Ethical Filament Foundation, which aims to improve the lives of waste pickers, who scour other people’s trash for items to sell or recycle. “In the developing world, it’s hard to get filament, and if these recyclers could make it and sell it for, say, $15 a kilogram, they’d make enough money while doing the world a lot of good,”
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