Read the latest news from the Centre for Sustainable Materials Research and Technology
The SMaRT Centre has been able to transform waste plastics from electronic waste (e-waste) into the first sustainable plastics filament for 3D printers, using thermal transformative techniques and other innovations.
SMaRT's Plastics Filament MICROfactorieTM technology modules at UNSW are able to use a variety of waste plastics to create valuable filament for 3D printing.
Independent commercial operators have now established Plastics Filament MICROfactoriesTM (and other modules such as Green Ceramics) under licence to SMaRT, including by Kandui Technologies and Shoalhaven City Council.
The research for this has helped the UNSW SMaRT Centre develop the building blocks for its breakthrough MICROfactorieTM technologies and to continue to advance its microrecycling science.
Australian Government Minister for the Environment Sussan Ley made this announcement in 2019 in support of the innovations from the SMaRT Centre which she toured.
She said: "The micro factory’s 3D printing filament is a clear guide to what can be achieved. As an example, we currently export waste plastic and import filament for use in schools and business applications, this technology can change that and create Australian jobs.
"The great thing about this and the other technologies being developed is that it has completed its pilot testing phase and is now producing exciting new products."
Read more about the launch of the Green Ceramics and Plastics MicrofactoriesTM.in 2019 by Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley, and watch the below video of the launch.
Lab testing showed a new green filament made from 100% waste plastic displayed outstanding physical properties and potential. This led to the development of a Filament MicrofactorieTM at UNSW that has shown it can produce commercial scale filament output, made from waste.
SMaRT has worked with numerous industry and community partners on filament research and development.Reforming waste plastic into filament as a feedstock resource for manufacturers and other users who do 3D printing holds promise for a new era in manufacturing.
See this story and video from Al Jazeera published in 2020 for more information.