Dhruvika writes on sustainable practices in various sectors for BuzzOnEarth. Get in touch with her at Sometimes she reads her emails too.

The astounding amount of plastic in the ocean is finally catching the much-needed attention. An increasing number of firms are investing in the recycling of this plastic. A local nonprofit organization, Million Waves Project, in the North Sound, Washington is making prosthetic limbs from the ocean plastic. These prosthetics are for people who can’t afford expensive artificial limbs.

Million Waves Project uses a 3D printer to make the prosthetics for children as well as adults and ship them all over the world. The project aims to transform the lives of people and save the planet at the same time.

The idea occur to Chris when he heard two unrelated stories- one about a 19-year-old in the Netherlands who designed a machine to clean up the garbage from the ocean and the other about people using 3D printers to make prosthetic limbs. Chris connected the two.

He bought a 3D printer, set up a website and started collecting plastic bottles from the beaches. It takes about 30 plastic bottles and 20 hours to make a limb. The bottles are cut into pieces and fed into the shredder. The shredded pieces are converted into a special spool by another company.

“We just stroll up and down the beach collecting plastic. We wash it in the garage, spiral cut the bottle, and then feed it through a cross-cut paper shredder,” he said.

Now the bottles are provided by a marine cleanup group Washington CoastSavers.

“We are just getting started,” said Moriarity. “This is a world-changing operation, and everyone can get involved on the ground floor—for as little as $45 we can provide a limb for someone that will dramatically change their life, they can go to work, or play ball with their friends—and we have the technology do it responsibly.”

The cost is covered through donations. You can donate $45 to sponsor a 3D printed prosthetic limb. The extra donation will go for research and development of 3D printed wheelchairs. The Million Waves Project is also looking into dental prosthetics in the future.

GreenBatch, an Australian nonprofit that recycles plastic into 3D printer filament which is a primary source for the filament to 3D print the prosthetics, has partnered up with Million Waves Project.  3DUniverse would provide the scaled implementation of the Million Waves Project’s long-term strategy, starting by connecting funds raised by the project to people in need of prosthetics. Meanwhile, e-NABLE would provide templates for the prosthetics as well as offer general support.



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