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Tightening the loop on the circular economy: Coupled distributed recycling and manufacturing with recyclebot and RepRap 3-D printing

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Wanted: Students to make a distributed future with solar-powered open-source 3-D printing.
Contact Dr. Joshua Pearce or Apply here

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This page is part of an international project to use RepRap 3-D printing to make OSAT for sustainable development. Learn more.

Research: Open source 3-D printing of OSAT RecycleBot LCA of home recyclingGreen Distributed Recycling Ethical Filament LCA of distributed manufacturingRepRap LCA Energy and CO2 Solar-powered RepRapssolar powered recyclebot Feasibility hub Mechanical testingRepRap printing protocol: MOST‎ Lessons learnedMOST RepRap BuildMOST Prusa BuildMOST HS RepRap buildRepRap Print Server


Make me: Want to build a MOST RepRap? - Start here!Delta Build Overview:MOSTAthena Build OverviewMOST metal 3-D printer



Pearce Publications By Topic: Energy Conservation Energy Policy Industrial SymbiosisLife Cycle Analysis Materials Science Open Source Photovoltaic Systems Solar CellsSustainable Development Sustainability Education


Source[edit]

Abstract[edit]

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A promising method of enhancing the circular economy is distributed plastic recycling. In this study plastic waste is upcycled into 3-D printing filament with a recyclebot, which is an open source waste plastic extruder. The recyclebot is combined with an open source self-replicating rapid prototyper (RepRap) 3-D printer, to enable post-consumer ABS plastic filament from computer waste to be further upcycled into valuable consumer products pre-designed in the digital commons. The total electrical energy consumption for the combined process is monitored and an economic evaluation is completed. The coupled distributed recycling and manufacturing method for complex products reduces embodied energy by half, while reducing the cost of consumer products to pennies. This economic benefit provides an incentive for consumers to both home recycle and home manufacture, which tightens the loop on the circular economy by eliminating waste associated from transportation and retail. It is clear from the results that waste plastic can be significantly upcycled at the individual level using this commons-based approach. This tightening of the loop of the circular economy benefits the environment and sustainability as well as the economic stability of consumers/prosumers.

Keywords[edit]

Circular economy; Distributed recycling; Energy conservation; Polymer recycling; Sustainable development; distributed manufacturing; life cycle analysis; recycling; recyclebot; 3-D printing; polymer filament

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Literature Reviews[edit]