Social enterprise startup Reflow is excited to kick off its sales of its ethical, sustainable and affordable high-quality 3D print filament through a rewards crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter. Reflow filament is made from recycled PET plastic bottles collected in developing countries. Revenues from Reflow filament flow back to the waste pickers who collect these plastic bottles, increasing their income by up to twenty times. Reflow’s Kickstarter campaign will get underway on May 3, 2016 with the intention of selling Reflow’s first 5000 rolls of filament.
"The impact that we can have on the lives of waste pickers is huge. At the same time, we’re taking waste from the streets in developing countries and turning it into a valuable resource",says Jasper Middendorp, Reflow's CEO.
3D printer shipments are forecast to more than double every year according to a recent report from Gartner, reaching more than 5.6 million shipments by 2019. Reflow’s aim is to turn this growth from the 3D printing industry into income for more than 40 million waste pickers worldwidei that collect waste in urban areas. Despite their contribution to local economies and public health, waste pickers face low social status, poor working conditions, and minimal income. They earn less than $2 per day.
Reflow believes that the disruption of manufacturing by 3D printing will happen in developing countries first. Just like mobile banking skyrocketed in Africa because of broken banking structures, 3D printing will take off because of broken distribution lines, high costs of transport, and lack of capital for large scale production. The impact that Reflow has grows with the growth of their business. Every kg of filament sold results in the removal of 120 bottles from the streets and $3 additional income for waste pickers.
Reflow aims to sell 50,000 kg of filament in their first 3 years. If they achieve this goal, waste pickers’ incomes will increase by $200,000 and 6,000,000 plastic bottles will be removed from the street. Reflow is a community enterprise that also espouses open source principles. Reflow also depends on the valuable work of talented partners like STICLAB, local engineers and inventors in Tanzania and a network of universities and maker spaces like 3DHUBS. Rewards for Reflow’s Kickstarter campaign include rolls of Reflow filament and 3D printed art pieces. They’ve partnered with artists like Joshua Harker who have designed rewards that will be printed with Reflow filament. To follow Reflow’s progress, be sure to find them on Twitter (@ReflowFilament) and Instagram (@ReflowFilament).
About Reflow: For forward thinking creators everywhere, Reflow converts recyclable plastic into ethical, affordable, high-quality 3D print filament using open source technology. Their mission is to significantly improve the lives of waste pickers and to create a global, socially responsible 3D printing community. For more information on Reflow you can visit their website on http://reflowfilament.com.
Check out the project on Kickstarter.