Blockchaining Green Vibes

“We are living on this planet as if we had another one to go to.”
Terry Swearingen
(winner :Goldman Environmental Prize ,1997)

Re-cycling is often done best by undeveloped countries. These countries value those things that we would throw away such as the chipped mug, the broken steering wheel, or the bashed car door off its hinges. They often find solutions as to how they can be either used again or even used for some totally different purpose. I was always amazed, when visiting Dakar in Senegal, how the beaches, at the end of the day, would fill with locals who exercised in the make-shift outside “gyms” built along the sea front of Dakar. Here the weights and jumping bars are made out of old tyres. It made me reflect on those on the other side of the world, paying exorbitant prices to exercise at their local gyms. Indeed there are two simple words for these divas of recycling: Pure genius.

However, sadly contrary to their efforts and ingenuity, the western world still mainly thinks the solution to getting rid of unwanted waste is to simply throw it out. Despite our recent drive on recycling, the phrase “throw-away society” is still rife in the Western World and emerging economies. On a more encouraging note however “green” is now slowly reaching the headlines prompting slogans amongst politicians such as that of Emmanuel Macron’s “Let’s make this planet great again” The road to change is long and will be highly complex as our approach over the past 80 years has been far from noble. Scott Fizgerald’s quote about his characters Wendy and Tom in The Great Gatsby could be applied to our modern western society’s values when he refers to them as careless people who “smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money letting other people clear up the mess they have made” We are indeed this; the only difference is that we do not just wait for simply other people to clear up the vast rubbish dump which floats across the Atlantic Sea, we are it seems counting on future generations to solve this great problem which has been building over the years.

You may wonder what this great lecture on our recycling habits has to do with business trends and ICOs such as Productivist. It is however very pertinent because the responsibility of the business world holds the key to change. Put quite simply: the masses promote real change. In the case of the manufacturing industry, it is their approach to the waste and pollution caused by their current methods which will change for the better our ecosystem. No matter how good our individual behaviour is with regards to re-cycling , it is clear that if we wish to achieve significant global change this needs to be combined with a different approach to our current manufacturing methods.

Easy in words, but clearly complex in deed, because it is more than clear that the crux of the matter has been the impossibility to change things when faced with no alternative to current manufacturing methods. After all, how can large companies simply just stop the pollution which is at the source of their production methods without an alternative solution? This is where 3D printing technologies come in and they are furthermore already changing the potential to change not only manufacturing as we know it but our “throw away world” mind-set.

3D printing offers the manufacturing industry with a precise, bespoke and “clean” production process which does not impose waste on the environment. Its precise ability to reproduce quickly and accurately without industry heavy equipment is an attractive option and now as it becomes more and more accessible in price it is providing a viable alternative to its traditional predecessors. Interestingly though, 3D printing goes further than this. As we dig into rubbish dumps, like Sidhant Pai did in 2012, we are developing and exploring methods in which we can recycle the plastic and indeed other materials we throw out to produce 3D filament. Associations and companies such as SWaCH and Protoprint are drawing interest in the vast possibility of treating rubbish dumps as a source of resources rather than a source of slow decay.

It is indeed a mentality; as 3D printing develops and becomes more popular it is having a dominoes effect. The more it is available to the general public, the more management in businesses are viewing it as a real solution to manufacturing. This movement of change is supported by the growth of IT platforms such as Freelabster offering the general public with a means to reproduce their broken or obsolete part (for items such as vacuum cleaners or other electrical items) at reasonable prices. The possibility of 3D printing power is certainly now unleashed and it will be interesting to see its impact but one thing is clear, it has prompted more and more businesses today to explore this manufacturing method.

It must be said, however, that there still remains a “mystic” surrounding the world of 3D printing. There is a clear skills gap within many workforces with regards to this method making it nigh impossible for a global, dramatic change to take place. Indeed when faced with initial high investment costs for machinery, staff hiring and training, outsourcing is a path which companies have often preferred. “Outsourcing” has been the buzzword for many companies for numerous years, but it is being increasingly recognised that where there is out sourcing there is a loss of control. With supply chain problems such as substandard finishings, items not conform to standards, undelivered or damaged goods and communication problems along the supply chain as well as the inability to accurately monitor the process, the satisfaction level of outsourcing is not reputed. Perhaps this is why Productivist is a highly attractive solution. Combining a network of 3D printing and design expertise along with a sound control of the supply chain engineered using blockchain technology, this is certainly a realistic option for businesses to manufacture their products and it is something which could revolutionize the way the manufacturing industry works today.

This ICO project is more than pertinent to the problems the manufacturing industry are having to tackle on a daily basis. After all, this industry is just looking for that magic combination of quality, reliability and cost efficiency and Productivist provides all of these. You could therefore argue that if this promising ICO takes on, it could be a protagonist to changing the machine heavy manufacturing industry that we know today. Green is always a selling point, however, Productivist is not just that. The greatness lies in that it not just about putting “a green label on a bottle”, it comes as a real answer to industry needs and also to developing a more ecologically sound production line. It is a solution which goes deep which will promote and certainly improve and develop the 3D printing industry bringing it to the forefront of manufacturing methods.

All these arguments point to an ICO which will be an investment with good returns. Change needs to happen not just in our own “front gardens” but in the mind-set of how we mass produce. This ICO is more than just another business-viable idea, it is much more profound and if given wings, the next generation will most certainly reap the benefits.

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