FabLab introduces equipment to recycle plastic

INSTEAD of throwing away plastics, which take a thousand years to decompose in landfills, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) through FabLab UP Cebu, is introducing many innovative ways to upcycle them into useful and beautiful things.

Four plastic recycling machines were unveiled last Wednesday by the Fablab UP-Cebu.

It showcased a plastic shredder, which converts plastic items into flakes, while the other three machines convert the flakes into objects using different techniques.

The extrusion machine makes plastic filament, while the injection machine and the compression machines can use molds to create objects.

DTI Cebu Director Ma. Elena Arbon said the equipment was the output of a Precious Plastic Cebu Makeathon launched at the FabLab last December attended by designers, and engineers.

The problem on plastic wastes and its impact to the environment has prompted a team led by Australian volunteer Jeremy Brunt to replicate the plastic recycling machines designed by Dave Hakkens.

Arbon said DTI Cebu has infused P400,000 for the project, which includes the procurement of supplies, parts, cost of resource persons and other workshop needs. FabLab UP Cebu, on the other hand, provided the space to make the equipment.

The makeathon was a 48-hour session conducted for two weekends and work was continued the following weeks.

Arbon said the project raised awareness of what a FabLab can do and also provides the space for Cebu makers and innovators from various disciplines to come together and make something useful.

“The project demonstrated that when multi-disciplinary but like-minded individuals come together to make something good, innovation and creativity spark and magic happens,” Arbon said.

“We hope the project will inspire others to create, innovate, and cross-pollinate so Cebu can truly become an innovation island,” she added.

Arbon believes the equipment, which can be replicated, can help the creative sector of Cebu think of other innovative products to showcase and sell to the world.

UP Cebu FabLab manager Palmy Pe Tudtud lauded the success of the makeathon, saying this has produced equipment that could turn plastic wastes into usable and marketable products.

More than that, the equipment can be used by students in whatever projects they have.

“The facilities here at the FabLab gives students as well as the creative sector more options and a venue for them to do prototyping, or develop their ideas,” she said.

Brunt, according to Tudtud, will be crating a manual for the equipment so other interested parties can replicate it and help in reducing the country’s problem on ballooning plastic wastes.
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