A new technology for recycling used personal protective equipment (PPE) and converting them into 3D printing material

In Sydney, Australia, a new technology has been developed to solve the problem of waste resulting from the C19 pandemic by recycling used personal protective equipment (PPE) and converting it into 3D printing materials. A collaboration between 3RD Axis, an additive manufacturing company, and the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organization (ANSTO) has resulted in a process that can extract materials from used PPE and use them as raw material for 3D printing. Personal protective equipment after undergoing the recycling process can gain a new life as completely components produced on 3D printers.

Worldwide, up to 1.6 million tons of plastic waste is generated every day due to the pandemic, and 3.4 billion single-use masks are thrown away every day. The technology developed by 3RD Axis opens up the possibility of recycling for new plastics and materials.

“What we are developing with our partners at ANSTO is a useful solution to the ever-growing problem of waste generation. Our goal is to use raw materials from discarded or obsolete PPE, such as masks and sterile packaging, as a raw material for the production of filament for 3D printers,” said Andrew Cooper, CEO of 3RD Axis.

Medical waste companies are partnering with 3RD Axis to simplify collection and separation processes that can be implemented in hospitals, medical centers, hotels and emergency vehicles. The collected waste undergoes a multi-stage decontamination process before being melted at high temperatures and turned into a liquid form, creating a thermoplastic filament. The aim of the project is to produce sustainable products and reduce the amount of waste in landfills.

“The challenge is to reuse materials from the disposable economy and turn them into durable products that have a longer life cycle as the next product,” said Gerry Triani, ANSTO Materials Development and Characterization Leader. “The goal is twofold – to reduce landfill and to create a product that benefits both the environment and the economy.”


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