One of the hot trends on college campuses right now is a higher level of environmental consciousness in cafeterias, once plagued by wasteful food fights. The Sustainable Endowments Institute says that 42 percent of the schools it surveyed have cut back on use of trays, and in some cases totally eliminated them. One college estimates it has saved 14,000 gallons of water by eliminating use of trays at just one dining hall. Details can be viewed at the College Sustainability Report Card. There has also been a drop in food waste, based on the theory that people toted more when they had a tray. There’s also a trend to use of biodegradable plates and utensils, which can be thrown in a composter with food waste. Gosh, I remember when we first started using fiberglass trays in the 1950s. They were cool. Now they’re not. I also remember when I scoffed at the idea of using composters to get rid of waste. I have one now in my backyard. But I haven’t stooped to using biodegradable plates and utensils-yet.
Does it sound like magic? It's not. You can 3D-print with wood filaments right now, using a choice of colors and filament widths. Objects made from these materials range from things resembling plastic or lumber to stunningly beautiful art pieces that look just like the real thing.
Oak Ridge National Laboratories (ORNL) is partnering with Local Motors to develop technology that will 3D-print an entire production-model car. A second deal with Cincinnati Inc. will develop a huge, very fast commercial 3D printer.
CRP Technology has 3D-printed a 1:14 scale model of a yacht in carbon fiber composites to demonstrate the possibilities and give a boost to boat design. The material and process are also used for under-hood motorsport applications and in aerospace.
A new compression molding compound material combines the light weight, strength, and rigidity of carbon fibers with the flexibility and lower cost of glass materials in a composite compatible with automotive production.