It's a good thing, that aside from generating added plastic waste materials on the landfills, 3D printing technology has been applied to recycle and turn plastics into more useful products.
A team of students from the University of Washington claimed top prize in the first 3D4D challenge. With the urge to find funding for their project, the team join an international contest that use 3D printing technology to influence and deliver social benefits in the developing world. It was a success that the team WOOF-Washington Open Object Fabricators won $100,000 to form a company that will work with partners in Oaxaca, Mexico, to build machines that can transform waste plastic into composting toilets and pieces for rainwater harvesting systems and composting toilets in the developing world.
Matthew Rogge, a post-baccalaureate mechanical engineering student presented the project in London, he said “We built drilling equipment for our own well, and then built our own pump out of plastic,” and as he added, “There were a lot of parts that took a fair amount of skill to make.” Mr. Rogge was frustrated by the challenge of making custom parts in low-resource settings.
The winning proposal that the team presented was intended to create composting latrines that are lightweight and use less energy to manufacture than concrete toilets. The machine would also make rainwater catchment components that are specifically designed to fit to rain barrels, unlike current systems where joining available plumbing parts cause leaks and frequent failures.