Protoprint employs Ragpickers for recycling plastic waste

Protoprint plastic recycling for 3d printing

Plastic waste has always been a threat to environment, as it cannot be biodegraded. This threat is increasing exponentially with the increase in use of plastic materials in day-to-day life. Sidhant Pai, a 21-year-old MIT graduate, is determined to contribute to environment, through his motto of cleaning cities from the ever increasing plastic waste.

Pai’s innovative idea is to transform the plastic waste into raw material for 3D printers. His startup has partnered with ragpickers, who provide them plastic waste collected from various places. This waste is them processed by the Protoprint guys.

After the waste have been collected, the plastic materials are segregated and are fed into the FlakerBot which is a machine built by Pai himself. This machine shreds the plastic and this shredded plastic is moved to the RefilBot. Pai designed RefilBot to convert the shredded plastic into filaments. The final product is the filament itself which is used as the raw material in the 3D printers to print objects of any shape and size.

“We designed them (the machines) specifically to be low cost,” said Pai, who has worked on projects involving building an affordable solar cell phone charger in Nicaragua and pedal powered butter churn in He says,”As an environmental engineer I wanted to bring technology to the masses.”     A UK-based charity organization Techfotrade’s The Etical Filament Foundation partners with organizations around the globe who strive for making 3D printer raw material by recycling the plastic waste. Protoprint has partnered with them to transform the plastic waste into useful filaments.

Image Credit: M M (flickr handle: 43423301@N07)

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