Material extrusion printers such as 3D Systems’ (3DS) Cube use a whole lot of plastic to build objects. While it’s true plastic is great for multiple applications, it’s equally true that we have something of a glut of the material hanging around. There are some biodegradable options, but until the majority of plastic products are manufactured using PLA-type plastics, we’ll still have landfills full of the stuff.
Perhaps motivated by environmental consciousness, 3DS has teamed with EKOCYCLE to produce the EKOCYCLE Cube. EKOCYCLE is a project developed by Coca-Cola and will.i.am to encourage more responsible choices for sustainability. The EKOCYCLE Cube is the newest effort to reduce waste by using recycled plastic bottles to fuel the Cube.
The goal of EKOCYCLE is to “… partner with the most influential brands around the world and use technology, art, style and inspiration to change an entire culture,” said 3DS’ Chief Creative Officer will.i.am. “We will make it cool to recycle, and we will make it cool to make products using recycled materials. This is the beginning of a more sustainable 3D-printed lifestyle. Waste is only waste if we waste it.”
So how does the EKOCYCLE Cube help the recycling effort? According to 3DS, each cartridge used to fuel the Cube, “contains 25% of post-consumer recycled materials, using an average of three assorted recycled 20 oz. PET plastic bottles.” At first glance, that doesn’t really seem like much, but consider how many cartridges an active 3D printer can use. If enough people buy into the EKOCYCLE Cube, that’s a reasonable amount of material being re-used rather than just hanging out in a landfill.
From what 3DS has released of the specs for the EKOCYCLE Cube, it has nearly the same specs are your standard Cube, with perhaps a slight improvement in resolution. Pricing information has yet to be release, but 3DS is offering 25 fashion, music and tech minded accessories, curated by will.i.am, as a free bonus to buyers.
Below you’ll find a video about the EKOCYCLE Cube.