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EKOCYCLE's CUBE 3D Printer Upcycles Plastic Bottles Into a Range of New Products

Image credit: EKOCYCLE/3DS

This week, EKOCYCLE and 3D Systems (3DS) unveiled the EKOCYCLE CUBE — a 3D printer that upcycles post-consumer plastic bottles into items of your design.

EDS says the Cube “is not just another tool for making, it is a revolutionary tool for RE-making, and encourages and helps us to change the way we think about recycling.” The printers are expected to be available online at Cubify beginning in the second half of the year.

Launched in 2012 by will.i.am and The Coco-Cola Company, EKOCYCLE is a brand that promotes sustainability through lifestyle products made from recycled materials. As will.i.am, also Chief Creative Officer of 3DS, explains, the goal of EKOCYCLE is to “partner with the most influential brands around the world and use technology, art, style and inspiration to change an entire culture. We will make it cool to recycle, and we will make it cool to make products using recycled materials.

"This is the beginning of a more sustainable 3D-printed lifestyle. Waste is only waste if we waste it,” he adds.

According to 3DS, some of the salient features of the printer are:

  • Each cartridge turns the equivalent of three bottles into anything from bracelets and vases to shoes, iPhone cases and other accessories. For inspiration, buyers will receive a free collection of 25 fashion-, music- and tech-minded accessories curated by will.i.am.
  • The printer itself also contains recycled content: Both the filament and cartridges are made in part from post-consumer recycled PET bottles — new to home 3D printing, rPET is a flexible filament material that retains full durability and the strongest flexibility possible from PJP (Plastic Jet Printing). Cartridges are available in red, black, white and natural, and print dual-colored recycled plastic.
  • The CUBE prints in 70-micron high-resolution at fast speeds and up to 6” cubed in size, with ultra-fine supports for complex prints.
  • The Cubify app for iOS and Android enables mobile printing directly from your smartphone.
  • User-friendly features include a color touchscreen, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, auto-leveling print pad and easy supports removal for complex prints.

Coca-Cola announced last week at the White House's first Maker Faire that it would donate more than 1,500 Cube printers to FIRST, an organization founded by inventor and entrepreneur Dean Kamen to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders through STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education and mentoring programs.

Coke has been involved with a host of creative recycling initiatives of late: The brand recently partnered with OpenIDEO to launch a recycling challenge to co-create solutions that will help improve at-home recycling habits. The 11-week challenge draws on OpenIDEO’s 60,000 members from across the globe as part of Coca-Cola Enterprises’ ‘Recycle for the Future’ campaign. And in Bangladesh, the company has turned to gamifying recycling with a “Happiness Arcade.” In the first stage of the ongoing campaign, the game was installed in six different locations and the activation collected thousands of bottles, which will be converted into pellets for reuse in other products.

Aarthi is an Editorial Assistant at Sustainable Brands. She has nearly a decade of experience in creating and managing content across diverse media (web, video and print) for nonprofits and media houses in the US and India. Aarthi holds a… [Read more about Aarthi Rayapura]

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