After reports that the UK’s deal with China to accept plastic waste has come to an end, plenty of people are worried: from campaigners, to industry experts, to government officials.
Here at OmniDynamics, we have known that the crunch point with plastic waste was coming eventually. Humanity simply creates too much of it!
Our Web Manager, John-Anthony, explains: “As a nation we need to seriously look at our relationship with plastic. Single-use plastics are just too wasteful and damaging for our environment. It is also not economical, plastic is useful material that can be reformed almost indefinitely.”
When you consider that plastic is often cheap and easy to produce, lightweight and strong, it is easy to understand why we have become almost dependent on plastics within the last one hundred years.
Current attitudes towards plastic waste is so negative, viewing recycling as just a different way of processing rubbish, that the incredible opportunity to reuse plastic is being lost. One of our founding principles was that we view plastic as material, not waste.
“A problem is just an opportunity in disguise,” suggests our Operations Manager, Stephen. “Everyone sees this ‘rubbish’ with nowhere to go, but in reality what we have is an abundance of resource.”
We found it a little disconcerting that Michael Gove, the Environmental Secretary, would call plastic ‘dirt’ as he did in a recent statement – but this is a perfect example of how we have become a disposable society. We want something once, and then we move on – and that simply is not sustainable.
“We need, as a country, to make better use of these materials,” says Stephen. “But more importantly, we as individuals need to take more responsibility for our carbon foot print and re-use our plastic.”
The properties that make plastic so fantastic as a material for its first usage do not disappear when it comes to its second; in fact, most plastic waste can be recycled multiple times, into multiple things.
The obvious question is what to do with all of this plastic – a question that we solved through robotics just a few years ago.
“3D Printing is a newly emerging market that is set for incredible growth,” says John-Anthony. “I think that the government should really consider the opportunity that 3D printing can provide to making use of recyclable plastic."
Our Strooder technology enables plastic waste to become material through high temperatures that can be utilised safely. When you have the plastic in filament form, it will be ready for the 3D printer and usable for – well, pretty much anything.
Our mission is to solve problems using robotics: and for this particular problem, we have created a solution. All you have to do is start creating.
“We need to recognise the versatility and reusability of the resource we have,” says Stephen, “not restrict our understanding of what ‘material’ is."