See how The New Raw is turning plastic waste into useful 3D printing projects
One of the main concerns about desktop 3D printing is the use and consumption of plastic materials . Fortunately, however, a number of companies and startups have dedicated themselves to offering makers more sustainable ways to 3D print everyday items by developing recycled and recyclable filaments and materials. The New Raw is one such initiative, which has since last year been working on creating original and eco-friendly ways to advance digital fabrication technologies such as 3D printing.
Based in Syros, Greece, the innovative workshop is aimed at exploring new ways to turn material waste, specifically plastic waste, into raw materials for 3D printing. In Greece, plastic waste is a significant concern, especially with the influx of tourists in the summer who visit the picturesque Greek islands. If you’re wondering how tourism can affect plastic consumption and waste, just picture a population influx of up to 300% every summer, which brings with it an increase in the use of water bottles, plastic bags, and more. According to The New Raw Plastic, some of this recyclable waste is brought to a facility in Athens, but a large portion of it remains on the small Greek islands, polluting the landscapes and towns.
Wanting to find a solution to this problem, The New Raw/Plastic invited 27 guests to its workshop from a variety of fields, including industrial design, architecture, fine arts, and environmentalism. Together, they studied the reality of plastic pollution on the Greek island of Syros and developed five innovative designs and business concepts that would help re-appropriate and reuse some of the waste in a productive way through 3D printing.
In other words, the team not only devised a method for turning plastic waste from water bottles, plastic cups, and more into 3D printing filament, but also came up with five novel ideas for using the filament to draw attention to issues on the Greek island and promote sustainability. The first concept was called “Missing Part” and was geared towards the manufacturing of parts that could be used to help treat and fix building cracks. The second, called “PET for pets” proposed 3D printed pet houses designed for the growing population of stray cats on Syros. “Bottle Up”, the third idea, is a recycling system that rewards children for recycling by giving them a 3D printed piece from a large puzzle. The final two designs were for “Re_stool”, a system wherein plastic can be compressed by having people sit on a specially designed stool, and “ReCYCLAD3D”, which is essentially 3D printed 3D glasses for the cinema.
So far, The New Raw has conducted workshops in Syros, Greece, and more recently in Belgrade, Serbia. The startup is also conducting an ongoing research project called 3D Printing in the Circular City, which is based out of Amsterdam, The Netherlands.