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Home » Saskatoon youth-led non-profit begins turning plastic bottles into 3D printer material

Saskatoon youth-led non-profit begins turning plastic bottles into 3D printer material

Saskatoon youth-led non-profit begins turning plastic bottles into 3D printer material

High school students to provide free raw material to schools using the technology

Two Saskatoon high-school students have started a non-profit that is turning is turning plastic waste into something useful.

Sophia Lacroix and Kai Chen, Grade 11 students at Bishop James Mahoney High School, are using a Russian-built machine to turn plastic bottles into filament for 3D printers, and founded SK Eco Solutions to make the material available at no cost to schools and other educational institutions.

The two students were tired of quarantine last spring and were brainstorming different ideas about things they could do. They landed on "Project PET" (PET stands for polyethylene terephthalate, the plastic used in bottles) and started their non-profit.

"The biggest hurdle we had to get over was finding the machine," Lacroix said.

The extruder they are using is manufactured by NovaTech, a Russian company. After receiving grants from EcoFriendly Sask and the Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools Foundation, the two were able to purchase a PETBOT machine from the manufacturer.

They're now the second in Canada to have this technology, according to NovaTech. The other one in Canada is in Vancourver.

"We ribbonize them [plastic bottles], we extrude it, and the filament that we get is the filament that feeds directly into 3D printing machines, which has been part of this new wave of technology that tons of arts programs and schools are using," Lacroix said.

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