By Jeff Highbarger
3D printers are becoming more and more common. Amazon even has a 3D printer store on their website. How can melting plastic and reforming it into various shapes and sizes help society? Maybe in lots of ways. The most obvious way is the potential that exists to turn old plastic into something new and useful, basically breathing new life into what might otherwise simply end up floating in the ocean. It has been estimated that Americans alone throw away more than 30 million tons of plastic each year. That is a lot incase you were wondering. In a recent piece for the Tech Republic, Lyndsey Gilpin outlines how not only is there a great opportunity to lower our environmental impacts by using old plastic for 3D printing, but there is also tremendous potential to help a number of the extremely poor plastic waste workers around the world. On the other hand, I did uncover this interesting short documentary about 3D printed guns while doing some research for this post, so it’s important to remember that any new tool or technology is only as useful or harmful as the user’s intent.