After taking second place in the Seafair Milk Carton Derby using a printed boat made entirely of milk-jug plastic, the Washington Open Object Fabricators (WOOF) proved that 3-D printing was a budding technology. Now the group has proven its ability on the international level, winning first prize at the 3D4D Challenge in London last week.
The 50-member student group beat out six other finalists for the $100,000 top prize for their plan to use giant 3-D printers to turn create lightweight composting toilets and rainwater catchment equipment from waste plastic.
WOOF President Matt Rogge was introduced to the concept of composting latrines while serving in the Peace Corps. He said if they’re used correctly, they can turn what would otherwise be sewage into something valuable.
“Composting latrines espouse the same perspective that we are taking with our concept of 3-D printing from plastic in the waste stream: Don’t view it as waste,” Rogge said. “Plastic or ‘humanure’ are resources that can be used to improve quality of life rather than degrade it.”