Three engineering physics students at the University of British Columbia in Canada came together to form Project Regrind and are making history reducing plastic waste and saving money at the same time.
Project Regrind converts plastic water bottles into the filament needed for 3D printing. This eliminates the cost to print at the same time reducing waste.
The project began in 2016 with a senior mechanical engineering student with a goal to prevent students from having to pay to use the printer.
The process begins with an industrial grinder. Washed water bottles are inserted into the grinder and it ejects flakes of plastic. Next, the flakes go into an extruder, which heats plastic, and produces filament. Finally, the filament, which is a clear, thin cylindrical material, is put onto a spool and used for 3D printing.
The project is said to help students stay creative. The project has soon become a senior design project, for which the students study and receive class credit. This project is the first of its kind on a college level.