MINE-RCYCLER aims to create a sustainable culture among UTEP’s community by producing filament and 3D printed consumer goods from plastic waste such as water bottles, storage containers and failed 3D printed parts. Moreover, MINE-RCYCLER will help reduce plastic pollution on campus and at the same time add value to waste that otherwise would be disposed of in landfills
This project is based on the enormous potential plastic waste has to produce filament through an extrusion process, and hence to fabricate 3D printed goods by using Material Extrusion technologies. Currently, the average price of filament for 3D printing is 30 USD. However, the production cost can be much lower by handling the correct resources and systems. Furthermore, selling the produced filament and products will also generate profits. This will allow MINE-RCYCLER to serve as a sustainable system.
The process of recycling plastic starts with the collection and classification of plastic waste. For this purpose, the collection of plastic waste will be dependent on Project Delta (our brother project from ESW) which already deployed its recycling system in five different buildings around UTEP, and is crafting a plan to continue expanding a uniform recycling infrastructure for at least 40% of the buildings on campus.
The next step in the process to classify, clean, and store the plastic for its further grinding and extrusion. When the filament is obtained this can be employed for 3D printing the desired objects as phone cases, accessories for women and men, tools, prototypes and an innumerable variety of products. However, the filament can be commercialized with no further processing after being spooled.
Nevertheless, although this project is on its development stage it will represent a great opportunity to combine Sustainability with High-tech all joint and powered by the creativity of the students.