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Huntsville innovators create plastics recycling hub

Mycelium Huntsville & the University of Alabama Huntsville teamed up to unveil a 'Makerspace' that recycles plastic into 3D printer filament.

HUNTSVILLE, Ala — One Huntsville non-profit says they may have a solution to this plastic shortage.

Mycelium Huntsville teamed up with UAH to unveil a machine that's actually a plastic recycling hub.

It’s a three-part machine. One crunches items, like plastic bottles, then turns them into a spool of string. 

This is then used in a 3D printing machine to create any item you can think of.

Leaders say this innovation station took two years in the making. The end goal is recycling and sustainability.

“These are factories that make things that have just slowly shrunk down into something that sits on their desktop. And so, that enables people to turn their ideas into reality. And then the plastic recycling enables students to be able to research things to do with plastic so that it doesn't end up polluting our oceans,” said Mycelium Executive Director, Dan Meisner. 

The plastic recycling hub is part of the Makerspace room open to students and the public at UAH's Salmon Library. 

The creators of this project, Mycelium, also unveiled a FarmBot for community gardening earlier this year. 

Meisner said the automated “FarmBot1” is changing the game in providing veggies to homebound seniors and low-income families. It’s the first and only FarmBot in Huntsville. 

“Lockdowns happen and there were a lot of people worried about people touching their food. There was a lot of food scarcity issues last year that we saw, and we thought that this was a good way to kind of address some of those problems and sort of build out a more resilient food system,” says Meisner.

The WiFi-controlled FarmBot is capable of watering, weeding a raising a bed. Creators say the robot is weatherproof and has a built-in camera to monitor the garden.

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