The basic concept of nationwide recycling started in the 1980’s when towns began offering curbside recyclable pickup. Since then, the number of individuals that recycle has grown substantially, but at the same time, the sheer number of plastic and aluminum waste has grown as well. This has left millions of tons of recyclable waste in landfills, on our streets, and in our oceans.
For the better part of two decades, in major towns like New York City, Los Angeles, and Chicago, the homeless, as well as everyday citizens looking to make a few extra bucks, have collected bottles and cans in order to turn them in for the usual 5 cent rates at local recycling plants. Besides these people who are looking to cash in on the recycling opportunity, there are other every day people, like you and I, who care about the environment, yet don’t have the time or the desire to dig through garbage in order to make a few bucks.
This is where the organization Urban Hubs comes into play. Urban Hubs has recently teamed with the world’s largest 3D printing company, 3D Systems to launch an innovative campaign that will hopefully clean up our planet. Urban Hubs helps connect the the makers, the diggers, and the locals in a way that benefits us all.
Urban Hubs offers a free STL file on their site; one in which the ‘makers’ of the world can 3D print tiny modular bins that snap together. These bins each hold exactly one bottle or can, and snap together with as many other bins as the person printing desires, forming a ‘hub’. Whether you print out several bins, and create your own hub somewhere in your town, or just a single bin and add to an already existing hub, the idea is simply awesome. Once these hubs are erected, the locals of the area now have a place to insert their bottles and cans. Rather than the recyclables ending up on the streets, or in a trash can, they end up in a hub. Now instead of the diggers having to search through garbage in order to obtain their items, they can simply pluck their bottles and cans out of the various Urban Hubs around town.
The Urban Hubs website explains the process elegantly, The goal is to raise awareness and have a positive impact on neighborhood recycling rates. Urban Hubs are places where locals can drop off empty bottles and cans for their neighbors to collect and redeem for cash.
If you are a ‘maker’ who is interested in joining the ever growing community of hub creators, simply register at the Urban Hubs site and download the STL file. The file can be printed out on almost any 3D printer that is on the market today. If you have participated in this awesome network, please let us know by posting in the Urban Hubs forum thread.
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