Clean Currents Creates 3D Printer Filament from Ocean Plastics
Tom Spendlove posted on November 16, 2018 |
Company hopes to combat the problem of ocean plastics by turning the plastic waste into useful tools...

Sean Smith and his team from Clean Currents are passionate about sustainability. They say that a staggering fifty million pounds of plastic are dumped into the ocean every day, and five trillion chunks of plastic are already in the planet's waters. The group is concerned about the micro-plastics that can seep into water and food supplies but also worry about the chemicals that are leeching into the water as the plastics decompose. Their solution to this issue is to make ocean plastic easy to obtain and easy to use, for engineers or entrepreneurs who might want to use the refuse.

The easiest way to pull plastic from water surfaces is to pay people in underdeveloped countries to physically collect it. One recycling center in Haiti can process 20,000 pounds of plastic each month, and plans exist to build 61 collection centers in Haiti. The group is also constructing beach sifters, river skimmers and coastline trawlers as engineering projects to remove plastic from waterways.

The group is currently running a crowdfunding campaign for their 3D printer filament made from ocean plastics. The filament comes in black, white and clear colors with 1.75 and 2.85 millimeter diameters. The material is PETG and the spools are recyclable chipboard. Major users of this new filament can also join a Buy-Back program where supports, failed prints, rafts and other unused plastic can be sent back to Clean Currents for a discount. One great detail that stuck out to me was the Traceability component of the plastic, the idea that every spool comes with information about where the plastic was found and how it was recovered.

Clean Currents is a great organization working hard to give motivation for people to live sustainably. There are some grumblings in the comment section about the fuel required to ship the spools of filaments around the world, and the group says that long term plans call for building more facilities in Western Europe. It should be noted that this Clean Currents organization is separate from the wind power generation group that closed operations in 2014. The campaign for ocean plastic 3D printer filament ends on December 6, 2018.

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