A solar-powered "microfactory" that converts plastic waste into usable household items
Imagine having something like this in your neighbourhood.
Ever since reading Neal Stephenson's book, The Diamond Age, I have loved the idea of small household recyclers that can transform an infinitely reusable material into new products over and over. Imagine the impact such technology could have on the amount of waste and pollution we humans produce!
Need more dishes and glasses for a dinner party, not to mention a fancy new table cloth? Feed in the necessary amount of material and boom, there you go. Then recycle everything back into the original block of material or into something else, like a storage bench or folding step-ladder.
I realize this kind of technology is way more sci-fi than science at the moment – but with so many advancements happening with 3D printing and research into biodegradable materials and biomaterials, I do have some hope that such technology may enter the realm of the doable some time in the future.
In the meantime, this Deezen article about a solar-powered "mini-factory" that converts plastic waste into usable household items is doing a good job of scratching that particular itch for me. People can bring their used, cleaned plastics to the factory on Governor's Island, New York, where the plastic shredded, melted, and cooled in preset moulds that transform it into new usable products. The process is powered by photovoltaic panels and apparently produces zero toxins, waste, or pollutants.
Doesn't this seem like the kind of setup every small community or recycling center could benefit from having? The idea of people being able to recycle their old plastic into new and needed items without causing any waste or emissions is so cool. If I ever make it over to New York, I'm going to schedule in a trip to Governor's Island to check out this microfactory and the island's other sustainability initiatives for sure.