AUSTIN (KXAN) — From plastic water bottles to medical and manufacturing waste, those at re:3D are using trash to print goods.
“That waste has a lot of potential,” explained Samantha Snabes, the company’s co-founder and catalyst.
Snabes said she and her team have been working on ways to keep trash out of landfills and reusing it. When the company first started nearly a decade ago in 2013, Snabes said they knew they wanted to create jobs
but they also wanted to make a difference. That’s when they discovered they could 3D print with trash.
“This concept of waste just provides one more way to create those jobs and a whole industry of jobs around it,” she said.
Today, the company’s 3D printers can use plastics in various forms for printing such as flakes, pellets and filaments. So far, they’ve created art and furniture pieces that have benefited Austin Habitat for Humanity.
“It’s just like a really cool way to show how your waste can create value over and over again,” said Snabes.
re:3D sold all the 3D printed items they created at the Austin Habitat for Humanity Restore’s new location Lake Creek last month and all the money went to the nonprofit to continue its work to help local families.
They have hosted two events. The first took place in the summer of 2020 where they created a lot of furniture for people to sit on and raised around $580. The most recent event took place in December 2021, that time they created smaller items such as planters, side tables and small art pieces and raised close to $1,500.
In a statement, those at Austin Habitat for Humanity said they had connected with those at re:3D “over the mutual belief that there is value in giving items a second life. As a donation center and discount home improvement store, Austin Habitat ReStore locations accept and sell gently used items daily, keeping millions of pounds of reusable material out of the landfill annually.”
Austin Habitat for Humanity reports 38 million pounds of waste have been diverted from landfills.
“Our organizations have collaborated on two installments of “Trash to Furniture” at our two ReStore locations in Austin since forming our partnership in 2019. These collections feature designs 3D printed from plastic waste combined with reclaimed materials like scrap flooring, miscellaneous glass, or furniture missing pieces, giving new purpose to reusable goods instead of sending them to the landfill. The proceeds from selling these one-of-a-kind, mixed media home goods then give back to the local community again by benefitting Austin Habitat for Humanity’s affordable housing efforts like all ReStore purchases do,” Austin Habitat for Humanity added in the statement.
The latest report from the United States Environmental Protection Agency or EPA reports nearly 150 million tons of trash ended up in landfills in 2018. Of that, plastics made up around 20% with food being the largest contributing factor.