Research Output
3D-printing ‘Ocean plastic’–Fostering childrens’ engagement with sustainability
  Ocean plastic pollution has been identified as one of the biggest environmental threats of our time. As large islands of plastic waste such as the Pacific Gyre amass through the forces of intercontinental currents (Law et al., 2010), remote beaches in the pathway of these currents become repositories for discarded ocean plastic (Barnes and Milner, 2005), with only a small percentage of the total amount being usefully repurposed by locals. This paper details the scope of developing a prototype model for gathering plastic waste from the shoreline and remanufacturing it into filament for 3D-printing, using single screw extrusion. Through a small pilot study centred around visiting beach locations with a group of school-age children to collect ocean plastic and subsequent participation in a 3D-printing workshop, this paper describes a methodology for developing public engagement programmes that focus on a model of environmental and social sustainability. It examines how field research, based on participant observation, is utilized to evaluate the feasibility of conducting workshops with school-age children to use 3D-printing in an environmentally beneficial way. Through actively engaging children in the remanufacturing process, this prototype model could be used widely in affected localities to create awareness and develop alternative strategies for dealing with the increasing proliferation of environmentally hazardous ocean plastic, in turn leading to improved social capital across global communities.

  • Type:


  • Date:

    20 April 2018

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  • Library of Congress:

    NX Arts in general

  • Dewey Decimal Classification:

    700 Arts & recreation

  • Funders:

    Edinburgh Napier Funded


Vones, K., Allan, D., Lambert, I., & Vettese, S. (2018). 3D-printing ‘Ocean plastic’–Fostering childrens’ engagement with sustainability. Materials Today Communications, 16, 56-59.



3D-printing; CAD; sustainability; Ocean Plastic; public engagement; co-design; PLA; Nylon; extrusion

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