UVA graduate student shredding plastics down to reuse for 3D printing
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - A University of Virginia graduate student is using grant funds to help give old plastics new life.
“Plastics are part of daily life, and it is very hard to go about life without interacting with it,” Zack Landsman said.
Landsman is using a $30,000 grant from the Jefferson Trust to break down items using a plastic shredder.
“After they’re shredded into scraps, we sift them out with a... picture, like, gold panning and that, but for plastic. So we want to make sure we have the correct sizes for our production afterwards,” Landsman said. “We’re starting off with 3D printing filament production, but we’re also going to be doing injection molding to make full, large products.”
For now, Landsman is focused on this one type of plastic.
“Our big hope for our next step is to make a sheet press and have the plastic built into these giant planks that we can then treat as construction material in order to build furniture for the local Charlottesville area and for UVA,” he said.
Landsman says the real solution to waste, though, is using less plastic.
“Recycling is the last stop in trying to reintegrate materials back into the production lifecycle. If we can instead work on reuse and reducing that’s so much better,” he said.
Landsman hopes to scale-up production and get the community involved.
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