Our recycling area got an upgrade last week, enabling us to separate our waste into several categories ready for reprocessing and eventually reuse. We reused old delivery crates which were colour coded and labelled for clarity, a particularly tedious process.

 Try to ignore how uneven our floor is…
Try to ignore how uneven our floor is…

The waste streams are;

  1. Repair – These are broken products which may have valuable components or the potential to be fixed.

  2. General Waste – This is residual waste which councils cannot currently recycle, we will look at this waste and try to find a use.

  3. E-Waste – This is broken electronic components which may contain useful parts or the ability to be repaired.

  4. Card/Paper – Card or Paper waste, mostly from packaging, will be sent to council recycling

  5. 3D Print Waste – This contains a range of plastic waste associated with 3D printer use. Such as, support material, failed prints and small lengths of filament.

  6. PET – This contains purely Polyethylene terephthalate (PET), commonly found in drinking bottles and is a highly recyclable polymer suitable for reuse in products.

  7. HDPE – Just High-density polyethylene (HDPE) in this bin, mostly fond in milk bottles this is another useful polymer which can be reprocessed relatively easily.

  8. Recycling – Anything which does not fall under these categories but still can be recycled goes here! (PP, LDPE, Metal etc)

 3D print waste consists almost entirely of polylactic acid (PLA)
3D print waste consists almost entirely of polylactic acid (PLA)

We now capture the majority of our waste and aim to find uses for all of this resource. This polymer waste will be used for testing recycling and processing methods for products. These methods can then be applied to the larger scale plastics issue, which we are currently working on solutions for (specifically focusing on developing countries).

If everyone took a little more responsibility for their waste and actively pursued solutions we may not have many of the issues we currently face as a planet, however this starts by providing the most basic form of bin collection to the developing world! Look at what WasteAid are doing to combat this, by empowering locals with knowledge, low-cost technology & solutions that enable them to deal with the waste.