University of Washington

Thanks to a team of college students from the University of Washington, we have some new items made out of plastic bottles. This time it’s not jeans and board shorts and wallets. That is so Oct. 16. Today, the plastic water bottle story is all about using 3D printing to help people in developing countries conserve water.

The team, called Washington Open Object Fabricators or WOOF, just won $100,000 in a contest called the 3D4D Challenge, an international competition focused on using 3D printing to benefit developing countries. They’ll use the prize money to develop their technology, which transforms plastic waste into parts for composting toilets and rainwater collection systems.

You gotta love a project that takes our wasteful obsession with water that is cleaner/purer/more convenient than our already abundant drinkable water, and turns it into better water solutions for those who aren’t so lucky. It’s like finding a way to turn car exhaust into electric bikes.

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