Reuse to Reduce

In my first blog post “Circular Economy” I looked at ways in which Silk can be recycled and upcycled. Since then, I have developed quite a keen interest in ways which we can reuse materials for other purposes and contribute to a cleaner tomorrow. After all, waste won’t be reduced until we learn to reuse.

FilaBot

During the last ten years we have produced more plastic than we had in the last century.

50% of the plastic that is produced is used only once and thrown away.

It takes 500-1000 years for plastic to degrade.

By looking at these statistics we gather that the ongoing production of plastic is evidently damaging to the world that we live in and contributes to global warming. To prevent plastic from ending up in the oceans or landfills, Tyler McNaney has created a fascinating solution. His brainchild, the FilaBot, is an upcycling robot that turns scrap plastic into filament for 3D printers. The current rate at which plastic is produced, used and disposed suggests that the FilaBot may be producing an endless supply of material for prototyping and manufacturing.

The FilaBot uses a pressurised heating process to melt plastics into a fine diameter filament, ready for spooling. Waste plastics such as pellets, prints, etc, have to be added to the hopper and when the machine is heated and ready, begin extruding the filament with the speed and diameter controls located at the top of the machine.

Here is a video showing how a FilaBot works:

 

As with any other small, heavy-duty recycling system there may be some problems such as impurities and bubbles in plastics, however, that can be overlooked when you’re creating your own 3D printing filament at home at a significantly reduced cost.

 

PUMA InCycle

Puma is one of the leading sportswear brands in the world, which places it at a significant position to raise awareness and set an example for all, whether it is a good one or a bad one. The brand chose the former by taking a step towards preserving our environment and tackling the fact that most of our clothing, when thrown out, ends up in landfills and incineration plants.

The Puma InCycle collection launched in spring 2013, consisting of products that are recyclable or biodegradable. It was the brands first closed-loop, 100% Cradle-to-Cradle Basic certified collection. Only carefully selected materials were used in production, such as bio-degradable polymers, recycled polyester and organic cotton. This was done to eliminate hazardous chemicals, pesticides and chemical fertilisers.

This particular collection has special labels attached to the apparel, footwear and accessories to educate the consumer. The products belong to one of the following categories: Biological or Technical. The biological cycle collection is compostable and can be turned into biological nutrients. The technical cycle range has products that can be turned into raw materials or technical nutrients, to be recycled into new products.

The manufacturers are especially wary that materials within a product are not blended with other materials. This is done to ensure recyclability and that pure recycled materials can be obtained at the end of a products life.

The recyclable Puma Track Jacket is made of 98% recycled polyester which is obtained from used PET bottles, as opposed to the conventional Puma Track Jacket which contains additional materials such as elastane. Uniformity of materials is essential which is why even the zipper is made from recycled polyester. The jacket can be turned back into polyester granules, which then serves as a secondary raw material for other products made of recycled polyester. Consequently, reducing the need for crude oil, energy and the amount of waste created.

Although the venture was not as promising as it had seemed, I believe Puma took a brave leap towards helping the environment. Their ideas were intelligent but smarter advertising could have boosted their sales. A positive impact that their InCycle collection had was that the environmental impacts were reduced by a third compared to their conventional products. According to a website “The environmental costs for the conventional PUMA cotton shirt (€ 3.42) are 31% higher than those for the biodegradable PUMA InCycle shirt (€ 2.36).”

Read more here.

 

References

sustainablebrands.com. (2018). 13 Hot Sustainable Products To Follow in 2013. [online] Available at: http://www.sustainablebrands.com/news_and_views/blog/13-hot-sustainable-products-follow-2013

Biggs, J. (2018). The Upcycling Filabot Turns Regular Plastic Scrap Into 3D Printer Filament. [online] TechCrunch. Available at: https://techcrunch.com/2013/01/13/the-upcycling-filabot-turns-regular-plastic-scrap-into-3d-printer-filament/

EcoWatch. (2018). 22 Facts About Plastic Pollution (And 10 Things We Can Do About It). [online] Available at: https://www.ecowatch.com/22-facts-about-plastic-pollution-and-10-things-we-can-do-about-it-1881885971.html

Filabot. (2018). Our Hardware. [online] Available at: https://www.filabot.com/pages/our-hardware

sustainablebrands.com. (2018). PUMA Introduces C2C-Certified, Recyclable Track Jacket, Backpack as Part of InCycle Collection. [online] Available at: http://www.sustainablebrands.com/news_and_views/waste_not/puma-introduces-c2c-certified-recyclable-track-jacket-backpack-part-incycle

Trucost.com. (2018). New PUMA shoe and t-shirt impact the environment by a third less than conventional products | Trucost. [online] Available at:

https://www.trucost.com/trucost-news/new-puma-shoe-t-shirt-impact-environment-third-less-conventional-products/

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