Thursday, June 19, 2014

EKOCYCLE Cube - What does it mean?

There is something very different about the blog posts that I've been reading that talk about the EKOCYCLE.  In general 90% of what passes for reporting on blogs consists of 100% cut & paste from company press releases.   Refreshingly, this has NOT been the case for many of the EKOCYCLE Cube reports.

I have seen some genuine reporting about the EKOCYCLE Cube as writers seem to grasp the real import of the idea that this product has some special importance.  That is because it does.  It is very important.

I have to admit that it took me awhile to become a fan of having to separate plastic, paper and garbage when it was first introduced in our area more than a decade ago.  But, years of seeing just how full the plastic recycle container gets each weeks finally convinced me that without recycling, it was true that we would not only be wasting finite resources; but, be buried under mounds of plastic containers and bottles.

Recycling has come to have political overtones; but, in reality recycling is not a political issue.  It is an economic, health and space issue.

Back in the 1960's to 1970's my grandfather and uncle owned a restricted landfill dump designed to fill a deep ravine in the "country" outside of Washington, DC.  The bulk of what came into the dump was building materials as old buildings were demolished to make room for new ones. But, consumers could also drop off things they no longer wanted.  It was amazing to find Lionel train sets and other really nice things being discarded as worthless trash.  Of course, we grandchildren instantly decided to "rescue" some of these treasures.  It was a valuable lesson in recycling as these toys were once again whipping around recycled tracks.

But there were some longer term lessons.  For decades, smoke could be seen seeping up from the depths of the dump as building materials under pressure combusted spontaneously.  Things might be out of sight.  But, they were not out of mind and smoldered for years.  It was assumed back in the 1960s that it posed no health hazards, since it was 'just building materials'.  But, certainly no one knew for sure.  Fortunately the fires burned themselves out and no dogs, cats and children were born with extra appendages as far as we know.  But, certainly, I appreciate the risks of dumping ANYTHING more now because of that experience.

Wind forward to the last few years... with hundreds of printed prototypes behind me.  It didn't take me long after starting to use a 3D printer to realize that recycling is an important and crucial consideration.  So, I was eager to participate in 3D Systems cartridge return program knowing their commitment to recycling.

So, now that I have fully grasped the important implications of the EKOCYCLE Cube, I am certain that this is the printer we should and will be using in our YouthQuest 3D ThinkLink Lab.  Our students, like all of the rest of us are consumers and consumers generate waste.  As generators of waste it is good for all of us to become conscious of the fact that we can recycle at least part of that waste and that recycling has enormously positive benefits to all of us.

I hate token, feel-good initiatives that are of little real consequence.  There is no way the EKOCYCLE Cube even remotely fits that description.

Like so many other blog writers that sense something special with the EKOCYCLE Cube, I have an appreciation of what a big step this concept is to a 3D printing future.  True, the materials are not 100% recycled.  But, the evolution to that goal has begun and I want our students to be a part of that evolving conscious effort to use the old to create the new.

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