Environmental concerns often drive innovation and technology advances. As an example, consumer demand for new products in new packages has been one factor in the proliferation of plastics in many different formulae. As the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration notes, plastic is everywhere: In our home, office, school — and ocean.
Among the top 10 kinds of trash picked up during the 2017 Intl Coastal Cleanup were food wrappers, beverage bottles, grocery bags, straws, and take out containers, all made of plastic. While it’s tough to say exactly how much plastic is in the ocean, scientists think about eight million metric tons of plastic entered the ocean in 2010. That’s the weight of nearly 90 aircraft carriers—and the problem continues to grow.
Unlike some other kinds of waste, plastic doesn’t decompose and are a rapidly growing segment of MSW (municipal solid waste). While plastics are found in all major MSW categories, the containers and packaging category had the most plastic tonnage at over 14.5 million tons in 2018. This category includes bags, sacks and wraps; other packaging; PET (polyethylene terephthalate) bottles and jars HDPE (high-density polyethylene) natural bottles; and other containers.
But there are new ways to get all that plastic off the landfill. Azure Printed Homes are innovators of recycled plastic 3D printing building technology. Azure developed its innovative technology with a goal of finding a better way to build that would be vastly better for the environment. Azure’s solution minimizes waste by using plastic already intended for landfills or that usually ends up in our oceans or incinerated.
By using recycled materials instead of new resources, Azure aims to close the sustainability loop in the 3D home building industry by getting closer to a circular economy’s goal of making optimum use of previously used materials. Through 3D printing, Azure says they can also build structures 70% faster and with 30% fewer costs than traditional home construction methods.
Azure Printed Homes plans to reduce home energy consumption bills to zero through a combination of high levels of building airtightness and the use of low-carbon technologies including heat pumps and solar panels. Azure, which has also been selling recycled plastic 3D printed backyard studios and accessory dwelling units to homeowners, will be creating the first community of durable homes to have their structures be entirely 3D printed using the same waste material repurposing techniques.
Azure was chosen by Oasis Development to create fourteen 3D printed prefabricated homes. Oasis is due to start site work in August 2022, with Azure scheduled to deliver the fourteen homes for the community the following month.