The Blog

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Harbir Kaur Headshot

3D Printers: The Key to Sustainability and End of Poverty?

Posted: Updated:
Print Article

All the world's a 3D printer

Nature has proved lucrative in providing inspiration for current innovations, but nothing can be as inspirational as nature's ability to re-invent, re-use and recycle matter: organic or inorganic.
As Sir Isaac Newton's First law of Thermodynamics states: energy can neither be created or destroyed. However the demands that our current lifestyle wreaks upon the planet cannot be sustained. Our insatiable appetite for frivolous material objects, fashion and relentlessly updated hardware and gadgets has resulted in pollution and landfills choking our environment.

Make do and 3D print: protect the environment.

Now that recycled and recyclable 3D printing materials are available, perhaps we too can begin to limit our attitudes of disposability and instead use products with a view of long-term consequences.

ABS is a commonly used material in 3D printing and although made of oil, is recyclable. Glass is a popular material collected in recycling schemes, but has few uses due to the large amount of energy required to recycle it. Other such materials costly to recycle could be reused in 3D printers.

Make do and 3D print: Protect your cognition

The 3D printer challenges minds: young and old. Anyone can engage in iterative design processes and tax themselves mentally: designing and improving. The question is will people use such tools responsibly?

Solar powered 3D printer anyone?

I envision a world where we no longer pose as such a menace to the environment but instead use our intellectual capacity to harmonise our lifestyles with the environment. Where using less energy entirely (not just eking out all green sources to keep up with our current demands) will become an aspiration. Instead of slum-dwellers fashioning bags out of rubbish as a recycling measure to earn their daily bread, they will be provided with education that empowers them to lift themselves out of poverty.

This will be my aim in the coming years.