Overall Rating Expired
Overall Score Expired
Liaison Brandon Trelstad
Submission Date April 30, 2015
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

Oregon State University
IN-1: Innovation 1

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete Expired Brandon Trelstad
Sustainability Coordinator
Sustainability Office
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Title or keywords related to the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome:
Recycled Plastics to Produce a Fiber Feed for 3-D Printing

A brief description of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome :

OSU Polymer Processing and Characterization Laboratory
School of Chemical, Biological, and Environmental Engineering

Recycled Plastics to Produce a Fiber Feed for 3-D Printing
Nick Jursik and Dr. Skip Rochefort
3-D printing technology has seen major advancements in the last couple of years so that relatively inexpensive 3-D printers are now available and popping up all over the OSU Campus. The Valley Library recently made 3-D printing available to any student and also has a 24 hr web cam set-up for viewing of the articles being made (http://guides.library.oregonstate.edu/3Dprinting). The major drawback at the moment is the plastic available to make articles. The Valley Library 3-D printer is specifically designed for use with PLA (poly lactic acid), a biodegradeable plastic that is NOT currently recycled. The most common plastic used in other 3-D printing technology is ABS (acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene), a very common plastic material (think LEGO bricks) but it is also NOT recycled. None of the Big Six Plastics (the six largest commodity plastics which are commonly recycled and labelled with recycling codes 1 through 6) are currently used in 3-D printing but there is no technological reason why they couldn’t be used. Our goal is to pull these plastic materials from the OSU recycled plastic waste stream, sort them into their individual recycling codes, shred them, and then process them using a laboratory scale plasticating extruder available in the CBEE Polymer Lab into a fiber to be used as the feed to a 3-D printer. The plasticating extruder is a common plastics processing piece of equipment which simply takes the solid polymer feed, melts it into a liquid, which then can be passed through a die to produce fiber of a desired diameter and length. We have this equipment in the lab and have recently purchased a MakerBot Replicator 2x 3-D printer (http://store.makerbot.com/replicator2x) similar to that currently available in the Valley Library (and at 7 other sites on the OSU campus…and growing).

To date, we have been able to collect HDPE (#2), PP (#5) containers and PLA cups from the OSU waste stream. The materials have been sorted, shredded and washed. The plastics were fed to the plasticating extruder to produce filament suitable for the 3-D printer. They have been successfully used as filament feed in the 3-D printer. However, since neither HDPE nor PP have ever been used in 3-D printing (anywhere), we are still working on establishing the 3-D printing specifications for these materials. Once we have perfected the technology, we will make this material available to the Valley Library so students can make 3-D articles from recycled plastics, a much more sustainable way to produce articles which generally do not have stringent performance requirements.


A brief description of any positive measurable outcomes associated with the innovation (if not reported above):

As detailed above, positive measurable outcomes include reduction in the amount of recycled material sent off campus vs. processed immediately locally (on campus), reduction in the amount of virgin plastics needed for 3D printing and education and research value to the students and faculty involved in this focus on closed loop systems thinking.


A letter of affirmation from an individual with relevant expertise:
Which of the following STARS subcategories does the innovation most closely relate to? (Select all that apply up to a maximum of 5):
Yes or No
Curriculum ---
Research Yes
Campus Engagement Yes
Public Engagement ---
Air & Climate ---
Buildings ---
Dining Services ---
Energy ---
Grounds ---
Purchasing ---
Transportation ---
Waste Yes
Water ---
Coordination, Planning & Governance ---
Diversity & Affordability ---
Health, Wellbeing & Work ---
Investment ---

Other topic(s) that the innovation relates to that are not listed above:
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The website URL where information about the innovation is available :
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