Living in Boulder has been somewhat enlightening through the constant harassment by so many protesting groups trying to save the world. We eat too much, they eat too little, the tigers are dying, the trees are disappearing, the ozone is depleting, meat is murder. One of these messages actually got through my head. Recycling. It not only makes sense in terms of saving space in dumps, but also financially. Putting something in the trash to me is throwing away money. Then you pay someone to through that trash away for you. Essentially paying someone to throw your money away. CRAZY!
Of course there have been some very interesting developments. Instead of burning plastic, it can now be converted back into oil. Cardboard, glass, and many plastics are re-used. However, most of this is not possible for you to do at home, adding a middleman and an unnecessary cost with it.
The movie above demonstrates the use of a homemade shredder that produces new printable filament from throwaway plastics. In the 3d-printing world, there is such a slew of usable materials already available for printing from wood filament/pulp, metals, plastics, ceramics, glass and this list is growing constantly! It would seem the next logical step is to start using what you throw out. Closed loop recycling. Your 3d-printed glass breaks? Melt the material and make it again. The newest commercially available filament maker is the Filabot. This nifty little device can save a lot of money buying new filament and space in the landfill.
Of course this technology has a long way to go in terms of the ability to separate materials, but it is certainly a step in the right direction, especially in such a large throw-away consumerist culture.