The existence of society is under threat due to environmental pollution, with plastic being one of the most hazardous pollutants. Plastic pollution is not only the most widespread problem affecting the marine environment, but also poses a significant threat to ocean health, food safety and quality, human health, coastal tourism, and contributes to climate change.
In order to determine the level of awareness and reasons behind the widespread use of plastic, the team surveyed school students, teachers, and parents. The survey revealed that the lack of a proper system for plastic waste disposal and collection was one of the major problems faced by both students and people in their village.
The team developed a project called “Waste Depositor & Plastic Printer” which aims to recycle plastic waste and convert it into a filament for 3D printers without causing harm to the environment or organisms. The prototype for this project consists of three main parts: a hopper unit; heating unit; die production unit and a air cooling unit.
The process for converting collected plastic waste into colored filament for 3D printers involves three steps:
- First, the plastic waste is crushed and fed into the hopper unit.
- Next, an electric motor drives a screw-based mechanism that transports the plastic waste to the heater.
- The heater continuously melts the plastic waste and pushes it mechanically through the die pattern unit. This results in the formation of filaments that match the dimensions and diameter specifications of the die.
When asked about their plans for scaling up the project in the future, the team members responded, “Yes, definitely, we will scale up our project. With the guidance of our mentor, Ms. Sumi Poulose, and the support of various mentors during the ATL Marathon, we have already built a working prototype of our product. In the years to come, we will continue to move forward with this project, identify and address any shortcomings of our product, and make it even better.”