Thursday, June 6, 2013

Sustainability at UW!

One of our "things" here at WOOF is recycling. Big Red feeds on the delicious flakes of milk jugs that we collect from the community. But milk jugs are hard to deal with. They're mostly air, so you don't get very much material per jug, they shrink a lot when you print with them, and they smell terrible.

We have been quietly experimenting with grinding up the forks, spoons, and knives used on the UW campus, for use in large scale 3D printing. The iconic brown utensils are made from a biodegradable plastic, PLA (PolyLactic Acid), which lends itself quite nicely to 3D Printing. Our goal is to divert these utensils from the waste streams and into our workroom!

To this end, WOOF has partnered with the UW Garbology Team! They have a ton of experience with the waste stream on campus, and we are very excited to help one another out. We're hoping to use this material to print some composting bins, which will, in turn, generate more plastic for us to print more bins... A never-ending cycle!

We've got a collection bin set up in Ian's Domain, located in McCarty hall, and hope to expand to some other caf├ęs on campus. Please consider dropping your forks and spoons in the box (And keep it clean of other stuff, too!).

We're very excited for what the future holds with this plastic. Stay tuned!

(Our first print with the forks. Not too shabby!)

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