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posted 28 November 2016 at 15:39:20

Walking along the beach one day, a teacher from Tasmania found himself tut-tutting at the amount of discarded old rope he found strewn around the coastline of Western Australia – much of it small bits of plastic rope from fishing industries.  

A big fan of 3D printing, Marcos Gogolin dedicated the next five years to working out a method of converting old rope into usable 3D printing filament.  

After a few disappointments involving hot glue guns, Marcos, enthusiastically assisted by his pupils at TasTAFE school, created a DIY filament maker that could actually convert melted marine rope into usable plastic for 3D print. Although he describes his cobbled together machine as "all a bit dodgy", the entrepreneurial teacher is working on a business plan and hopes to get some engineers interested in further developing the filament maker.  

'There is too much plastic being produced, it's crazy, it's completely out of hand', says Marcos. 'I think it has to come to a point where to produce new plastic is so expensive, it's not viable any more and people will start to value the resource of the waste.'  

This is a terrific step towards not only making the oceans safer for birds and marine life, but also reducing the amount of plastic landfill clogging up the planet. A great example of 3D print technology and environmental awareness working in harmony and involving the next generation into the bargain. Well done and good luck, Sir!

Image: © Thinkstock/iStock/Francesco Scatena