Is upcycling using 3D printing just a gimmick?

This might look like a small hill, but it’s not. I’m standing on top of millions of tons of trash, on what
was once a landfill. Most of what you throw away ends up in a place like this, where it’s likely to stay buried for hundreds, if not
thousands of years. Landfills have basically been banned here in Germany, but there are still tens of thousands of them across the
world. In this video, let’s find out if we can use 3D printing to upcycle some of the stuff that would usually be thrown
away. Let’s look at what you can upcycle using a 3D printer. The vast majority of designs are used for upcycling energy
drink cans. Everything from bird feeders, planters, organizers, to wind stations, paint rollers, and even rockets and batteries. Here are a few that I’ve found interesting and decided to
print them. The next popular trash to upcycle are all the various glass
jars. I really liked this greenhouse idea. You’ll also find a few juicers, although using 3D printed parts with food is probably not
the best idea. A better alternative is to convert empty jars into drinking
mugs. [sound of insects buzzing] Even better, you can use the lid and store your drink for
later. Coffee is actually responsible for one of the biggest waste
of modern times… … coffee pods! Last year, there were 56 billion of them produced. That’s enough to stack them up to the moon and back again… … and back to the moon, and back for the second time. And you’d still have enough left to circle the Earth more
than three times over! That’s just in one year alone and majority of them end up in
a landfill. Why is that? If you throw this away, it ends up on a landfill, because recycling plants can’t be bothered to take it apart. However, if you remove the coffee yourself and separate it
from the plastic, it should end up being recycled. This is where 3D printers come in play; you can print something like this that lets you easily open
a pod and remove the coffee grounds. You’ll find models for every major brand in the links below. It only takes you a few seconds to do it, but can have a
huge impact on the environment. The final major source of waste are plastic bottles. If you thought coffee pods were bad, imagine this… There are one million plastic bottles produced every minute! And only about 10% of them end up being recycled. It hardly needs to be said that you should be using reusable
containers in the first place, but let’s look at a few options for upcycling plastic
bottles. [crickets chirping] [brids singing] Finally, let’s look at the biggest waste when it comes to 3D
printing itself – empty spool rolls. Each empty roll is usually a quarter of the entire weight and there’s hardly anything you can do with it. Sure, some people have tried reusing them by designing
organizers like this, but they don’t make much sense. By the time you print enough of them to reuse one empty
spool, you’ve already wasted a third of filament, so what’s the point? The best way to save empty rolls is by not using them in the
first place. This is the idea behind the MasterSpool project. You buy just the refills and print a special spool that you can then keep reusing, plus the refills are usually a bit cheaper. Another great idea is to recycle your failed prints and
create new filament from them. Stefan from CNC Kitchen did an entire video about it, check
it out. There are, of course, more models out there, but I’ve
covered most of the basic ideas. In the end, I have mixed feelings about it, but only because I live in Germany where just about
everything gets recycled. Subtitle Every store here has a machine where you can return empty
cans and bottles and get some money back. So at the end of the day, there’s simply not much left here
for you to upcycle. However, I’ve traveled enough to know that this is hardly
the case everywhere. If you live in a place where recycling isn’t a big deal, you should definitely try and do what you can. Of course, keep in mind that you can upcycle without relying
on a 3D printer, so be sure to check out some of the links below for more
ideas. So, what do you think, is upcycling with a 3D printer just a
gimmick, or is it actually useful? If you’ve enjoyed this video, here are two more that you
might find interesting. Leave a comment, thanks for watching and I’ll see you soon.

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