3D-printing 'Ocean Plastic' - Fostering childrens' engagement with sustainability

Katharina Vones (Lead / Corresponding author), Denise Allan, Ian Lambert, Samantha Vettese

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    15 Citations (Scopus)


    Ocean plastic pollution has been identified as one of the biggest environmental threats of our time. As large islands of plastic waste such as the Pacific Gyre amass through the forces of intercontinental currents (Law et al., 2010), remote beaches in the pathway of these currents become repositories for discarded ocean plastic (Barnes and Milner, 2005), with only a small percentage of the total amount being usefully repurposed by locals. This paper details the scope of developing a prototype model for gathering plastic waste from the shoreline and remanufacturing it into filament for 3D-printing, using single screw extrusion. Through a small pilot study centred around visiting beach locations with a group of school-age children to collect ocean plastic and subsequent participation in a 3D-printing workshop, this paper describes a methodology for developing public engagement programmes that focus on a model of environmental and social sustainability. It examines how field research, based on participant observation, is utilized to evaluate the feasibility of conducting workshops with school-age children to use 3D-printing in an environmentally beneficial way. Through actively engaging children in the remanufacturing process, this prototype model could be used widely in affected localities to create awareness and develop alternative strategies for dealing with the increasing proliferation of environmentally hazardous ocean plastic, in turn leading to improved social capital across global communities.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)56-59
    Number of pages4
    JournalMaterials Today Communications
    Early online date20 Apr 2018
    Publication statusPublished - Sept 2018


    • Remanufacturing
    • 3D Printing
    • PLA
    • Extrusion
    • Ocean Plastic
    • Public engagement

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
    • Education


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