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Although the concept of 3D printing has been around for years, most 3D printers are only able to use new, pristine plastics. To this end, the Amsterdam-based company vanPlestik has developed a unique 3D printer that creates new plastic from old plastic. By pushing a single button, the printer churns out a brand-new plastic product.

Only about 10 per cent of all the plastic collected is actually recycled. The rest is incinerated in furnaces. This special 3D printer paves the way for actual recycling, reducing the mountain of rubbish and transforming plastic waste into new products.

As seen at the UvA

The UvA is now the proud owner of this fantastic printer. This mobile printer can currently be found in the central hall of the REC-A building, on the ground floor near the stairs.

HAGO installed the 3D printer as part of their tender for the new cleaning services contract. The underlying idea is to create greater awareness of the importance of waste separation among staff and students, as well as to reduce the UvA's own flow of plastic waste.

Now, one week after its installation, the printer can already be called a resounding success. In fact, more plastic bottles were collected on the very first day than previously in an entire week. A few days later,more bottles were collected in a single morning than used to be deposited in an entire month!

What and when?

The plastic bottles collected will be turned into a ‘thread’, which the 3D printer can use to produce whatever you like – in theory. Right now, you can opt for a bracelet or an ID card case. The printer is located in the central hall of REC A and is in operation from 10:00 to 14:00.

This week a corresponding information kiosk will be installed and a booklet will be put out so students and staff can indicate what kind of products they would like to have printed. From these responses, a selection will then be made and programmed into the printer.