Indian Company Protoprint Transforms Waste into 3D Printing Filament for Commercial Use
Monday, November 14, 2016
This week, we reported on New Zealand-based Waikato University’s revolutionary FDM technology-based 3D printing method that allows anyone to print complex objects by converting waste material into thermoplastic filament, and we’ve seen several initiatives around the world focused on bringing waste material into reuse via 3D printing. An Indian company called Protoprint is leading a similar project but on a more commercial aspect and global scale.
Protoprint, a social enterprise founded by environmental engineer Sidhant Pai and his parents in 2012 to address poor employment conditions and increasing pollution levels, secured a partnership with SWaCH to transform high-density polyethylene (HDPE)-based products such as plastic bottles into filament for 3D printers.
SWaCH, short for Solid Waste Collection and Handling, is a cooperative formed by waste pickers and workers at a waste disposal site in Pune, India. Workers at SWaCH provide Protoprint with the necessary waste material which Pai and his team use to create filaments.
Ultimately, Pai plans to sell and distribute these plastic filaments to 3D printing companies around the world. He believes a global distribution of waste material-based enterprise-grade 3D printing filament could significantly decrease the waste production rate in its local waste disposal site at Pune and provide a much improved working condition for the local waste pickers.