Researchers successfully test 3D printed coral reefs

Sustainability |  < 1 min. read

Ok, so if there’s ever a sequel to Finding Dory, Bob the Bottle may not make the cast.  But to endangered coral reefs, “Bob” and all the other plastic bottles we recycle might be heroes.

That’s because we could use that plastic to rebuild damaged coral reefs.  Researchers at University of Delaware tried out the idea, 3D-printing corals made of different materials, including polyester and their printed reefs worked!

Fish that call the reefs home, found a home in the printed reef.  Researchers weren’t sure how that was going to turn out so that was a happy discovery.  Even better, baby (ok, technically they are called “larvae”) coral liked it too, settling in and building on as they would in nature.

So fish like it.  Corals like it.  And potentially, it’s a use for our recycled bottles.  What’s not to like?   The Delaware team did not use recycled plastic for this experiment. But our used water bottles are made from a plastic that can be recycled, and re-used to make the plastic thread used in a 3D-printer.

Pixar?  Disney?  There were a couple of damselfish in Dory (Deb & Flo), which are the same fish used in the 3D-printed reef experiment.  And we can hear Danny DeVito as the voice of Bob the Bottle!   Have your people call our people.