Yes, you read well. There is a 3D printer that recycles plastic you thought about throwing away. Brilliant, isn’t it?
ProtoCycler is more than just a 3D printer though: it is a new way of producing plastic products. Right now, one of the main environmental problems is the unnecessary surplus production of plastic. It is a well-known fact that petroleum is the origin of plastic, and that it is used for a wide range of things: plastic bottles, packaging, make-up, chemical products, single-use products, etc. The latter are a big issue, above all for oceans that have sadly become a dump for plastic waste all over the world.
What solution is there? Reciprocal forms of producing could be a first step towards finding a global, far-reaching solution. A printer that recycles plastic and, at the same time, reuses it to generate new products is a gorgeous idea, as this would represent not just a massive reduction of plastic waste, but also a great way of saving money by creating new filaments through the use of old plastic.
What products can be recycled with ProtoCycler?
Basically, the input product needs to be made of plastic (of course), and that’s about it. One particularly relevant example would be plastic bottles, one of the main contaminants on the planet and with a very low recycling ratio (around 20%). Another example could be 3D printer outputs gone wrong. Those among you that have used 3D printers in the past have probably encountered this problem: Due to a glitch or a technical problem, the printed output was not as expected and you had to throw it away. With ProtoCycler, this problem belongs to the past, as you can just recycle said output, melt it with the printer and create a new filament.
Much of ProtoCycler’s greatness stems from the fact that, like many smart products nowadays, it is ecologic, effective and intelligent. Being able to recycle and produce your own plastic filaments (commonly sold at around 20 EUR/kilo) should give a fresh breath not just to the environment, but also to your wallet.