Rethinking Plastics

Project Product Design

In this project, you will be rethinking and redesigning a wasteful plastic product to be more sustainable and fit for a circular economy. After learning about plastic waste and the circular economy, you’ll identify a product and use the ‘life cycle design method’ to drive a complete systemic redesign. View the project details below and start a free trial to PrintLab today!


Project Difficulty


This project is rated as advanced. Participants should have strong skills in 3D design and 3D printing, as well as good knowledge of design processes and methods. If you are a beginner designer, we recommend participating in other basic/intermediate projects first.

Project Length


The estimated project length is 8 hours, excluding any 3D printing time. This estimate includes designing and making an initial prototype and creating 2 improved versions. The project can be completed in shorter or longer periods of time depending on the number of iterations you choose to make. We recommend breaking the project up into multiple sessions (e.g. 8 x 1 hour sessions), which will allow you to 3D print necessary objects between sessions.

Equipment Required


To participate in this project, you will require:

  • A laptop or computer with either Tinkercad or Fusion 360 software (both free for educational and personal use).
  • A software or web application to create a digital portfolio. We recommend using Google Slides.
  • Access to a 3D printer and 3D printing material.
  • Pen/pencil and paper.
  • A device to capture images of your design process to insert into the project portfolio.

Additional materials may be required depending on the design methods you use when developing your solution.

2 website screens showing the learning platform for PrintLab's rethinking plastics project.

The Learning Platform

The project learning platform takes you through the full design process using a variety of media - from explainer/case study videos and Tinkercad/Fusion 360 3D design tutorials to design method instructions and more.

4 example portfolio template slides from PrintLab's rethinking plastics project.

The Portfolio

As you move through each stage of the project, we guide you in filling in a Google Slides template to document your design process - resulting in a beautiful and professional portfolio of work.

The Outcome

Our teaching methodology is focused around creative freedom. By using various research, design and evaluation methods, you'll learn how to create a circular product that's completely unique!

A website screen showing the teacher instructions pop down menu from PrintLab's rethinking plastics project.

Teacher Resources

With our education licenses, you can generate a share link to give your students access to the project learning platform. Each section of the platform also has a teacher instructions tab, which provides you with step-by-step lesson plan instructions, curriculum alignment resources and an assessment rubric.


Ready to Get Started?

This project is available to subscribers of PrintLab. Learn more about our license options and start a free trial today to access a whole range of resources across the fields of 3D printing, 3D design, assistive technology, product design and STEM.


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