A large part of the recycling process involves repurposing. Besides keeping your electronics running for as long as possible, there are many creative things you can do with your old electronics. Some turned gutted out CRT monitors into fish tanks or cat beds, others turned keyboards into jewelry or pencil holders. In 2013, Kodjo Afate Gnikou from Togo in West Africa got very creative and built the world’s first 3-D printer…out of e-waste! He came up with the idea after assembling a 3D printer kit, noticing many complications with the process. His goal was to create a 3D printer that was inexpensive and easy to replicate. Afate’s printer only cost him about $100 to make, by reusing parts of old computers, printers, and scanners that he found in a scrap yard. Afate hopes that his invention will help to make the world notice Africa as a contender in the tech market. “My dream is to give young people hope and to show that Africa, too, has its place on the global market when it comes to technology. We are able to create things.”
Ghana’s capital, Accra, is known to have become one of the many dumping grounds of electronic waste from the US and Europe. Hundreds of tons of discarded computers and industrial equipment are dumped each month, with usable spare parts and equipment mixed in with poisonous waste. While it is fantastic to see someone make such great use of the e-waste, it still doesn’t tackle the source of the problem. GreenCitizen exists to make sure electronics do not get dumped in landfills or sent overseas to places like West Africa.
Today, you can find many instructions online detailing how to make your own inexpensive 3D printer out of e-waste. Happy creating!