3D printing is a revolutionary technology, a great way to produce things that would otherwise be practically impossible or very expensive. However, 3D printing service is also an environmentally friendly technique, as it uses much less energy than traditional manufacturing techniques with the possibility of using more sustainable materials.
3D printing has been around for about a decade, and with the advent of more printers and materials, technology is changing rapidly. But the most important change is the evolution of sustainability and eco-friendliness in 3D printing.
The choice of materials plays an important role in determining the degree of sustainability of products made with 3D printing, using recyclable or biodegradable materials.
Producing using ecological materials, and the reuse of plastics as a material for 3D printing is certainly one of the first steps towards making additive manufacturing more sustainable.
With 3D printing, there is also the possibility of having less waste and reducing inventory management costs, both important aspects for manufacturing companies.
In 3D printing we have a large choice in the use of sustainable materials, which can be used in 3D printing, for example, PLA [polylactic acid], a biodegradable and compostable polymer, is one of the most popular and widely used 3D printing materials, in this way the environmental impact of traditional production is reduced and the use of non-toxic and recyclable materials is increased.
PLA is obtained from renewable and natural raw materials such as corn. Starch (glucose) is extracted from plants and converted into dextrose by the addition of enzymes. PLA is produced from renewable raw materials and is not based on fossil raw materials, such as ABS.
When it comes to sustainability, 3D printing is a great way to reduce the amount of waste that would otherwise be generated when manufacturing products from waste, and by using green 3D printing materials for biodegradable objects.
Another plastic material that can be 100% recycled is PETG, it is an amorphous plastic, it is a thermoplastic widely used on the additive manufacturing market, combining at the same time the simplicity of use like the PLA material and the resistance of ABS.
Print with low impact and easily recyclable materials.
The most common use of PETG, used in the additive manufacturing process, is the creation of prototypes, parts, and components. PETG material allows you to print virtually any shape and size, right at your home. With this printing material, you can create 3D models of anything: figurines and sculptures, costume props, and even toys.
Another material with a green soul is recycled ABS, the process combines 3D printing and waste management in a new way. The result: the plastic is converted back into new material to be used in 3D printers thus creating a recycled ABS material.
In the recycling of plastics as a material for 3D printing, we find advantages in the energy cost much lower than that currently required, with potential cost reduction and further pollution due to the transport necessary to move the discarded plastic to recycling centers, in the next in the future it is expected to have access to local sorting points for recycled plastic.
The circular economy concept is not only about reducing waste use and generation, but also about raising awareness of material challenges. Waste reduction is the key to environmental sustainability and 3D printers can help us achieve this.
3D printing, as one of the technologies with the greatest impact in this context, must be responsible and ready for these challenges.