The inspiration for Caroline Reitmeyer's project came during a summer service project in Hawaii where she was appalled by the number of plastic bottles routinely swept ashore and onto beaches. Under the auspices of the school’s Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership (CEL) and its 10th grade Capstone program, she was able to work with mentors from the Engineering and Robotics Department to design and fabricate a device that heats plastic and extrudes it as a thread. This thread—which she has appropriately coined “Philament”—can be used by 3D printers to fabricate models and prototypes in design labs throughout the world. As her mission boldly states: Caroline is helping to "fuel the next generation of innovators with yesterday’s materials."
Ed Glassman, executive director of the CEL, shares, “Caroline has shown great resilience and resourcefulness as she has worked to perfect her 3D printer filament recycling machine. She has diligently worked on this idea over the course of multiple years. It is more than just an exercise for a class, or a plan of action, it is actually in operation.”
Caroline plans to use the Drexel prize money to industrialize the process to recycle the plastic she collects and will be donating some to the Hawaii Wildlife Fund.
Photo Caption: Presenting Caroline with her prize money and trophy are (left) Donna De Carolis, founding dean, the Charles D. Close School of Entrepreneurship, and the Silverman Family Professor of Entrepreneurial Leadership and (right) Roger Lee, adjunct professor and entrepreneur in residence, the Charles D. Close School of Entrepreneurship.