What's this all about?
When creating a product, designers make deliberate choices about the utility of the objects and materials that they use, the manufacturing process that they choose, the length of the product's useful life, and what happens to the product after it is no longer needed. Bad design results when a designer fails to consider all of these factors, or chooses to ignore any of the unpleasant consequences of their decisions.
An example of a careful and considered design comes from Maille, a French condiment manufacturer. Maille has a history of packaging their mustard, mayonnaise, and gherkins in containers designed to be collected and reused as drinking glasses. This is an example of intended reuse.
Upcycling, or creative and unintended reuse, is the process of transforming by-products, waste materials, useless, or unwanted products into new materials or products of better quality or for better environmental value. Upcycling is the opposite of downcycling, which involves converting materials and products into new materials of lesser quality, like converting plastic bottles into fleece. Synthetic fleeces, when washed, can release toxic synthetic microfibers into our environment where they are consumed by fish and other wildlife. Or these microfibers can bioaccumulate, concentrating toxins in larger animals that are higher up the food chain (see Microfiber Pollution and the Apparel Industry and Adventure Scientists).
Upcycling can produce surprising, charming, useful, and novel objects. The site Upcycle That curates and creates the best upcycling ideas, and Popsugar recently posted about 200 upcycling ideas.
This Ultimaker community project starts January 2018 and culminates at Construct3D October 5th - 8th 2018, in Atlanta, Georgia, with an exhibition of products that have been upcycled with the help of 3D printing. But not just any products - what we would like to see upcycled are Coca-Cola products. Why Coca-Cola? Because Atlanta is the home of Coca-Cola. It's the perfect place to show off your transformations of bottles and cans into new and inspired products.
Over the Spring 2018 semester and up until September 20th, we invite students, educators, and anyone in the community to create upcycled Coca-Cola projects. We ask that all models be uploaded to Youmagine, and tagged “#upcycling.”