ASEE Zone 2 Conference 2017

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Recycling onto functional domestic artifacts: an educational and technical endeavor

About 80% of the plastic water containers in the US end up in the trash. These take tens to hundreds of years to degrade. Recycling has been recognized as a desirable activity that, nonetheless, is still far from being widespread. Our group has proposed that, in order to make recycling more attractive, it is necessary for it to result in goods that are truly useful and immediately available for use. In previous works, the prototyping of a planar self-assembly was carried out by our group resulting in small modules that could withstand up to 150 lbs in flexural tests. These 3D printed modules could then be further assembled to create larger planar objects. This work extends these design and testing efforts to produce stepping-stones for home gardens. An assessment on the viability of the final product will be presented. Eventually, these modules currently 3D printed using PLA, could be produced with recycled PET from bottles. The intention is, then, to tie recycling with convenient usefulness to drive design and the development of a simple personal recycling system.


Stephanie Villanueva    
Industrial Engineering
The Applied Optimization Group at UPRM
Puerto Rico


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