Social Entrepreneurs Create 3D Printed Wrench From Recycled Ocean Plastic

Monday, June 9, 2014

The Plastic Bank, a Vancouver-based social enterprise I wrote about last fall, just announced it’s created, in the words of co-founder Shaun Frankson, “the world’s first 3D printed item from entirely recycled ocean plastic.” Specifically, they made a wrench.

Of course, this requires more explanation.

The company is the brainchild of David Katz, who previously founded Nero Global Tracking about 12 years ago. During his travels around the world, Katz was stunned by just how much plastic waste he encountered littering beaches and waterways, especially in less-developed countries.

Then he got an idea—a pretty big one. It combined recycling with helping impoverished people to find a way out of poverty through self-sustaining entrepreneurial micro-ventures.

People would collect plastic refuse and take it to an exchange center; the facilities would be located in places where there’s a lot of poverty, in addition to a lot of plastic waste around waterways. In return, they’d get money and something else: credits towards making something on a 3D printer. These things would be items they could use to start their own businesses—say, selling gaskets –or they could have other consumers pay them to create something they needed. (Trainers would help collectors learn methods for the safe handling of plastic waste).

Source: Forbes (link opens in a new window)