Why limit recycling to Earth when you can do it in outer space too?
Space manufacturing company Made in Space recently teamed up with thermoplastic resin and polypropylene company Braskem to create a plastic recycler for astronauts stationed at the International Space Station.
Using Braskem’s specialized Green Plastic (a sugarcane-based plastic made using thermoplastic resin) in the majority of their goods and perishables packaging, astronauts can dump the reusable waste into the recycler and repurpose it into material for the onboard Made in Space 3D printer. This, in turn, helps reduce weight and allows astronauts to produce custom tools and parts with ease using materials already available on board. Once they’re done with said parts, they can dump it all back into the recycler where it can be mulched down again for future use.
With both a 3D printer and now a 3D recycler now in space, could it only be a matter of time before we start sending space designers to craft our new home in the stars? Only time will tell!