Nov 102017
GREENFIRE ETHICAL FILAMENT STANDARD FOR 3-D PRINTING Note: In addition to the standards outlined below, GreenFire DAO Foundation will comply with national legislation and also other recognized standards and conventions such as the International Labour Organisation (ILO). The Rationale for an Ethical Filament Standard A main goal of fair trade is to provide opportunities and stable trading partners to economically disadvantaged producers and to open up new markets (WFTO, 2013). Fair trade filament has the potential to benefit some of the world’s most disadvantaged – the millions of people, predominantly in developing countries, whose livelihood and income come from picking waste on dumps through the possibility of some income stability, access to the plastic value chain and further job creation without a large startup cost or difficult job training. Pickers can be employed to collect and process the plastic through all the steps shown below. As well as plastic collection and sale, through the acquisition of a recycling machine, such as a Filabot extrusion and filament system, , pickers will have the ability to enter the value chain and turn their plastic into filament themselves to provide a higher value return and diversify their income. This filament could then be sold to make useful products for local and national communities that could be in turn sold. In addition, a picker or other local workers could buy or be microfinanced to begin making finished products from the waste plastic filament. These finished products can have substantial value and can either be used to offset household costs or again sold on the market for profit. This process could be especially beneficial in rural areas where markets are not as varied as in cities and consumers simply lack access to many products. The main goals for a fair trade standard for filament are: • To provide an environmentally friendly and ethically produced filament alternative to meet market need. • To open up a new market for value added products that can be produced by waste pickers. • To ensure that a transparent minimum price is paid to waste pickers for the plastic used to make ethical filament. This will ensure that waste pickers are able to earn a wage that meets or exceeds sector regulations, collective bargaining agreements and regional average minimum wage (where these exist). • To provide the opportunity for waste pickers to further their position and improve their income (more…)
Mar 092017
A small technology and innovation company based in Tanzania is working to create a healthier environment and produce more medical tools by re-using plastic waste as 3D printer filament. Using this recycled material, STICLab hopes to enhance the area’s health ecosystem by providing a range of medical tools and applications. And since Dar es Salaam, the city in which the company operates from, generates an estimated 400 tonnes of plastic waste in one day, STICLab is hoping to help the region’s environment, as well as its medical sector. In a project, named ReFabDar, similar to ALT LLC’s last year, STICLab is passionate about ‘fixing the mess we have created for ourselves.’ The company says the first step to doing that, is changing the perception of trash and finding a way to make value out of waste. Currently in Tanzania, the cost of 1kg of filament can rise above forty dollars. Focusing particularly on recycling plastic bottles, the aim for the company’s engineers has been to create new machines that turn this plastic waste into 3D filament, and then use that filament to innovate new products for the Tanzanian market. “Today, the plastic waste that is collected by waste pickers is then shipped freight to China,” said Adella Salum, Engineer, STICLab. “We need more local enterprises to recycle this waste. If we could just have ten percent of Dar’s plastic waste, we could make about a million medical tools a day.” Using its RETR3D 3D printer and Thunderhead filament extruder, the company’s vision is becoming a reality. Through the ReFabDar project, five feasible product markets have been established. While education items, spare parts, jewellery and consumer goods are all viable end-parts, STICLab sees healthcare as the field in which it can have the greatest impact. Tanzania is one of Africa’s worst affected areas for the spread of malaria – practically the entire country carries a high risk of infection. To properly diagnose malaria, doctors often use microscopes, which in poorer parts of the country are not always easy to come by. Having already 3D-printed a medical microscope, STICLab is hopeful the ReFabDar project can help to sufficiently detect and treat killer diseases, such as malaria, while cracking down on plastic waste. “We have laboratories where we conduct our research activities,” said Calista Emeda, Senior Research Scientist, National Institute for Medical Research. “We use microscopes in several activities while testing. Malaria is among the (more…)