Halifax project looks to use old cannabis containers for prosthetic limbs

Click to play video: 'Cannabis plastic recycled into prosthetics'
Cannabis plastic recycled into prosthetics
WATCH: A Nova Scotia man thinks he has a new use for the extensive plastic packaging that comes with legal cannabis. The local entrepreneur says that plastic can be recycled into 3D printed prosthetics. Silas Brown reports – Oct 24, 2018

One of the somewhat unexpected issues to come out of the legalization of recreational cannabis has been the amount of packaging surrounding the actual product, as black market baggies have been replaced by plastic tubs of bud.

But among all of this a Halifax man has spotted an opportunity to take some of the packaging out of the waste stream, while also improving lives.

“We put a call out for bottle caps a while ago … and a lot of our fans, since legalization, have reached out to us and just said, ‘Hey, we’ve got a lot of wasted plastic from these cannabis containers, would you accept lids from these containers?'” said Jake Boudreau, founder of Kindness 3D.

“We don’t see anything being done in the province right now as a solution so we’re looking to put a call out and actually get a lot of cannabis lids sent to us so we can break them down and start building devices out of them.”

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Kindness3D is a chapter of a worldwide network called e-Nable that provides 3D printed prosthetics to those in need, free of charge.

Boudreau gained a lot of attention this summer when he built a prosthetics arm for a six-year-old girl form Costa Rica.

“We’re not only recycling it but we’re giving it a purpose, and what’s exciting for us is that we get to connect with people around the world who ordinarily should never be able to have access to artificial limbs. Now we can build them something at a very, very low cost with a high quality,” he said.

WATCH: Recreational cannabis packaging strictly regulated

Click to play video: 'Recreational cannabis packaging strictly regulated'
Recreational cannabis packaging strictly regulated

Boudreau, along with Dalhousie PHD candidate Aaron Outhwaite, take old plastics and shred them up, using a modified paper shredder. The plastics are run through at least three times to make the pieces as fine as possible, at which point they can be used in the 3D printer.

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Boudreau says most of their designs are from open source databases and they are constantly tinkering with the machines that they’re using. Even the custom printhead used to make the prosthetics was 3D-printed.

Boudreau has started a petition on to get the NSLC to collect used cannabis packaging for Kindness 3D, but has not spoken directly with Nova Scotia’s cannabis retailer as of yet. For now, old cannabis packages can be dropped off at Good Robot to be collected by Boudreau for use in his workshop.

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