Startup Turns Plastic Collected By Waste Pickers Into 3D Printer Ink

Startup Turns Plastic Collected By Waste Pickers Into 3D Printer Ink | Source: Huffington Post, May 5 2016 |

Trash collectors would be able to earn 20 times more than they do now.

Millions of waste collectors in developing countries spend their days sifting through garbage. It’s a task that’s dangerous and unhealthy, yet pretty critical considering that most of it is dumped illegally and there’s minimal private waste collection.

India Daily Life

A homeless child rag picker waits to cross a road after collecting recyclable material from a garbage dump in Gauhati, India, Sunday, Sept. 28, 2014. (AP Photo/Anupam Nath)

But they only earn about $2 a day and often burn the plastic in a way that’s deleterious to the environment.

Reflow, a startup out of Amsterdam, has found a way to disrupt that model, and help these workers earn 20 times more than do now.

The company partners directly with waste pickers and converts the plastic they amass into high quality print filament, which is what 3D printers use instead of ink.

Waste pickers, or those who make money by gathering and selling recyclable items, often live below the poverty line, the company pointed out on its Kickstarter page.

“Everywhere you go, you can find huge groups of people collecting waste barely being able to feed their family, plastic being burned in open air and plastic waste clogging drains, causing floods and spread disease,” the page reads. “Seeing this broke our hearts, and we were determined to help break this cycle.”

Read the complete article.

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