I was talking to a lady recently about my sustainable living blog and how I believe we should be including green living ideas specifically for saving the planet on the whole, in the same definition. Part of that task involves learning about the kinds of things that people are doing to reduce wastage, or to discover what things could be recycled to make mankind move towards a more environmentally aware population and green up our planet. She mentioned to me about an interview she saw where British comedian/actress Joanna Lumley met with singer will.i.am from the pop group The Black Eyed Peas. I didn’t realise that Will.i.am is rather full of green living ideas, especially from unexpected sources.
Will.i.am – A Green Ideas Man of the Future?
What my friend found fascinating was will.i.am’s interest in technological advances, some of which are based around the use of greener technology along with converting waste into useful products. During the interview, will.i.am drives Joanna around in his very modern, flashy electric car with all the futuristic conveniences. It was a beautiful looking car and I’d love to do an article on electric, or other, powered cars at a later date. For now I want to focus on his idea for using waste and recycling it into something practical and even valuable, clothing.
For the full interview watch this You Tube video clip. For information about this particular endeavour of will.i.am’s watch from between 39 to 42 minutes into the video.
What To Do With Those Nasty Plastic Water Bottles
Will.i.am has been behind a move to turn empty used plastic water bottles into other products. They have developed a way for the bottles to be recycled and reduced down to flakes, and then processed even further to create a kind of cotton as the end product that is apparently very silk-like in texture. This cotton has then been used to make fabric and clothing. Wow. Imagine how many coke bottles would be just lying around at a refuse collection station or recycling plant that could be used for something like this. That would be a VERY large and valuable contribution to saving the planet for such a hugely popular product to be used for. I can only speculate at the amount of waste that is produced by a company such as Coca Cola, let alone any of the other brands of soft drinks alone. What a great idea.
Let’s Get The Big Companies Involved
Fabric, it seems, is only one of the products that this material made from recycled plastic bottles can be recycled into. Will had a set of plastic headphones in his hand as he was describing the technology and its my understanding that there are all kinds of other products that can be produced in a similar way. I had a look at a website where he apparently works in collaboration with companies such as Coca Cola to produce items from recycled bottles where waste is converted into 3D printed creations.
Nike Say – “Just Do It!”
Other popular companies such as Nike are being encouraged to produce their inventory partially using recycled components. I saw a variety of products ranging from jewellery and phone cases, shoes, chairs and other furniture. The term he is using is called Ekocycle, which is a trademarked name for the company that he works with. It’s pretty interesting stuff to see, especially since I’m fairly new to the whole concept of 3D printing. I saw the film The Fifth Element in 1997 where they printed a live woman from her DNA and that was the stuff of the future. I had no idea how close we were to achieving something like it, and now only 18 years later, here we are in 2015 with at least part of the concept becoming a reality.
But Will It Make A Difference? Only Time Will Tell
I don’t know how much this new idea of utilising waste and turning it into something useable and practical will help towards a greener environment in the long term. This is due to not having any information on the mechanics of how the places that manufacture the 3D printers operate in terms of how much of a carbon footprint they happen to be leaving to produce these machines. But at least if we can just cycle, recycle and remake whatever we decide we don’t need or like anymore with the items we have already made, we can rest easier knowing that eventually less and less new plastics will be produced and hopefully we can halt their slow destruction of the planet. And that would be a fantastic and ideal solution to the build up of current waste.
3D Printing In The Future Is Already Here!
If they can already make handbags, fabric, jewellery, shoes, furniture and headphones, who knows, this may be the beginning of a new construction method for homes, vehicles, appliances, and basic everyday items. Something to look forward to. Ideally we would want to halt the production of new plastics altogether and use only what is already in circulation, which is why I would not recommend switching over to using these materials in place of other greener materials, but at least it is a option of what to do with our current waste. Green living ideas are out there, and as you’ve seen they can come from very unexpected sources too. It just requires extraordinary people to think outside the box and create them.
What are your own thoughts and ideas on how we could use this 3D printed plastics? Please leave a comment below. We may just yet start a revolution of green thinkers.
Thank you for reading.
To A Sustainable Future
Images collected and compiled into one by myself, were courtesy of digitalart, Natara and Salvatore Vuono from freedigitalphotos.com