Recycling 3D Printed Waste

Spring 2022 Update: Having made much progress, this project is slowly winding down, but feel free to contact us if you have new ideas or want to spread its impact!

If you’re familiar with 3D printing, you know about the piles of plastic trash (failed prints, tangled spools, vetoed prototypes) that it generates. For a technology of the future, that’s not a very forward-thinking way to operate, right?

Nikki Panditi

At the 3D Printing Recycling Project, we believe in the educational power of 3D printing, but we also know there is a greener way to do it. We are building the student-led, on-campus infrastructure for 3D printing recycling at UC Berkeley, so that all of that plastic trash is turned right back into filament and can be 3D printed again.

SERC student staff Scott Silva and Nikki Panditi have been working hard to bring recycling to the plastic waste created from the 100+ 3D printers on campus. Watch this video that documents their story and their hard work!

Statement of Purpose

We plan to incorporate various 3D printing projects regarding the recycling of plastics in order to provide educational opportunities for students in Richmond and at UC Berkeley. In conjunction with the Design Engineering Collaborative, the campus’s 3D printing community will become zero waste with the incorporation of failed prints as the source of filament for 3D printed projects. This project will happen at UC Berkeley in efforts to reduce the current waste created by the otherwise innovative technology, and will involve a simple and organized collection and redistribution process. We are also working with Green Labs, College of Engineering and the College of Environmental Design in redistribution of plastics, as many scholars want the material for research needs. Finally, we plan to work in conjunction with the Richmond High School and provide educational opportunities for high school students.

Project Goals

1. Establish a network of sustainability in the 3D printing community

2. Provide resources for an economically sustainable model

3. Reduce campus plastic waste

4. Provide educational projects to students and community members