Plans to repurpose plastic bottles using a 3D printer have been unveiled by students and staff at the University of Wollongong.
The project aims to close the loop of single-use plastic on campus by collecting items made from PET plastic and turning it into items including bowls, coasters and cups.
The plans were announced at the Global Climate Change Week Festival at the UOW.
The project is led by MakerSpace coordinator Nathan Riggir who believes action to stop plastic pollution needs to take place at a local level.
“I’m all for the environment and what we’re doing to it is embarrassing,” Mr Riggir said.
“If we could take 10 per cent of plastic waste from campus and respawn it through our 3D printers that would be a massive first step.
“This is our little contribution to reducing plastic waste.”
The process works firstly by breaking down the plastic through a shredding machine.
The plastic is then fed into a 3D printer, which moulds it into another shape.
The team behind the initiative is made up of staff and students from extracurricular clubs and societies at UOW.
Mr Riggir hopes that in future, an end-to-end recycling station can be set up at UOW where volunteers can help with the process.
The group is currently collecting the plastic needed for the project from recycling bins placed throughout the university.
They have also partnered with an organisation that collects plastic from the ocean.
Global Climate Change Week co-founder Keith Horton said the project is the most exciting part of this year’s festival.
The festival, which is now in its fourth year, aims to encourage community members to help prevent further climate change.
“We are here to raise the awareness of climate change and to alarm people,” Mr Horton said.
“Most people don’t seem to be terribly concerned about it when in fact the risks are very great and the need for action is urgent.”
Events at the festival include bike repair workshops, musical performances and a seminar hosted by climate scientist Lesley Hughes.
Mr Horton said joining the fight against climate change could be as simple as reducing red meat intake, driving less or recycling more.