Startup's founders hope to build a socially responsible 3D-printing enterprise

An Amsterdam-based startup is hiring waste pickers in developing countries to collect used bottles made of polyethylene terephthalate, or PET, with the goal of using technology to recycle those bottles by converting them into 3D printing filament—otherwise known as the “ink” of 3D printers. Through the project, Reflow hopes to spearhead an environmentally friendly initiative that also improves the lives of those who collect and sell waste for a living.

According to the company, by obtaining the plastic to be converted into filament for use for 3D printing from developing countries, Reflow can help boost waste pickers’ income by up to 20 times the current average of $2 per day. For many workers, the money they receive from collected waste plastic is their only source of income, according to Reflow.

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