Research Output
3D Printing Ocean Plastic – Experiments, Experience and Engagement
  Background : One severe and urgent environmental problem facing this planet is ocean plastic pollution. As a material with excellent properties recyclability, ocean plastics have the potential to be recalled back to the production process for repurposing into 3D printing materials.
Objective: To examine the acceptance of 3D printing souvenirs in experiential marketing towards engagement with issues of sustainability and explore the possibility of utilising ocean plastic as the potential substitution of PLA.
Methods: Data was collected from lab experiments with ocean plastic and 3D printed souvenirs utilising the material. Experiments on recycling a mixed range of ocean plastic, collected from Scottish beaches into 3D printing filaments were conducted. Printing tests were run on a 3D printer and a 3D pen. In addition to this, responses around value, desirability and perception were collected from a range of participants who were able to make their own souvenirs utilising small 3D printed shapes, at a participatory workshop.
Results: Through this project it was found that ocean plastic can be utilised towards 3D printing and useable objects using low tech processes. While the 3D printable materials had ‘imperfections’ such as embedded sand particles and colour variations, the authors found that this was actually beneficial when utilised towards site-specific souvenirs-of-place and when the narrative of the plastic’s story was utilised in the marketing of the plastic’s sustainable credentials.
Conclusion: It was found that the potential to use ocean plastic as a manufacturable resource has been somewhat overlooked when thought it is only thought about through orthodox, large scale lenses and the aesthetic, digital craft possibilities are overlooked. In addition to this, the methodology of creative tourism – in-situ experience and authentic engagement – can be utilised well in the context of engaging publics with the serious issues of pollution and ocean plastic.

  • Type:


  • Date:

    07 November 2022

  • Publication Status:


  • Funders:

    Edinburgh Napier Funded


Tao, C. X., & Vettese, S. (2022, November). 3D Printing Ocean Plastic – Experiments, Experience and Engagement. Presented at 3D Printing & Additive Manufacturing, Paris, France


Monthly Views:

Available Documents