When you can combine two disparate things, such as a technology like 3D printing, with a waste product, such as plastic found in the ocean, and create something entirely new with them, it has the potential to make a real difference in the world. And that’s what The Plastic Bank is doing with their “Social Plastic” initiative.
In what’s considered to be a world’s first for both 3D printing and for recycled plastic from the ocean, The Plastic Bank has just created an item entirely with 3D printing filament made from recycled ocean plastic, right in time for World Oceans Day on June 8th.
“The completed program is a huge step forward in its mission to provide the world’s poor with the ability to exchange plastic waste for access to life improvement opportunities and 3D printing, making plastic too valuable to throw away.” – Shaun Frankson, the Co-Founder of The Plastic Bank
This project, the latest in the organization’s movement to transform waste ocean plastic into 3D printing filament and in turn, to better the lives of some of the world’s poor with it, began with a shoreline cleanup in Alaska, where waste plastic was ‘harvested’ from the ocean. After sorting, the plastic was sent to UBC and turned into 3D filament, which was then used at the Plastic Bank headquarters in Vancouver to print the first 3D item.
“The Plastic Bank is turning plastic waste into a currency to help reduce global poverty and plastic waste. It is setting up re-purposing / exchange centers for plastic waste in areas that have a high concentration of poverty and plastic pollution. The Plastic Bank’s mandate is to provide a ladder of opportunity for the worlds poor to ascend from poverty by providing a reliable income and access to education, opportunities and 3D printing services. The exchange process for our recycled “Social Plastic” improves the life of a disadvantaged person while cleaning our planet. The goal of The Plastic Bank is to lead the movement towards a worldwide demand for the use of Social Plastic in everyday products. The higher the demand becomes, the higher the reward will be for harvesting Social Plastic. Much of the world’s ocean plastic starts on land in developing countries. The Plastic Bank has created a system to prevent ocean bound plastic waste from being dumped into oceans, rivers and waterways by making it too valuable to throw away. ” – The Plastic Bank
Find out more about this innovative project at The Plastic Bank.