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Companies use pre-consumer recycled material for their 3D printing products to reduce plastic pollution and manufacturing costs. It is a mix of discarded PET plastic bottles and pre-industrial waste material.
Some towns or cities have specialist recycling centers that process type 7 materials, so your unsuccessful prints and scrap plastic can be sent to them to be reused in this way.
3D printing recycles plastic by turning old filaments into new materials. It uses less energy, fuel, and production costs than traditional manufacturing. It also saves on shipping costs and reduces the need for assembly lines.
Recycling 3D printer filament from polylactic acid (PLA) and acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) waste is a great way to cut down on landfill and reduce plastic pollution. The recycled material is also biodegradable, but only if it is industrially composted.
To create recycled PLA and ABS filament, the plastic is shredded and fed through an extruder to transform it into filament. This method means that plastic can be reused but requires specialized equipment. Some companies are creating machines that turn discarded plastic into filaments. These machines are expensive to buy and operate.
In addition to being environmentally friendly, 3d printing recycled filament is also cost-effective. Since the filament is made from discarded plastic waste, it saves manufacturers money on purchasing new polymer materials. The same applies to consumers who can now buy recycled filament at a much lower price than they would for normal, non-recycled plastic.
Most 3D printers use thermoplastic materials, such as acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), polylactic acid (PLA), and nylon. Some, such as the Felfil system, have all-in-one systems that grind, melt, and extrude waste plastic into filaments.
Some companies also make natural, plant-based 3D printing materials from soy, bamboo, and nuisance algae. Some have developed 100% organic filaments, such as plywood, half-wood fiber, half PLA, and Alix, made from algae and other biomass. These natural filaments have a higher upfront cost but can reduce printing costs over time.
Recycled materials reduce waste and help the environment. Failed prints make up 80% of 3D printing waste. Still, with the right technology, these materials can be reclaimed and re-extruded into many brands of 3D printer filament that use pre-consumer recycled plastics to create their products.
Another green option is to print using plant-based or biodegradable filaments like the soy-based FilaSoy and SeaWeed from 3DFuel, made from nuisance algae. Some companies even offer 100% organic filaments, such as Laywood, a mixture of PLA and wood fibers, and BioFilm, made from plant starches and sugars.
Additionally, since items can be printed closer to where they are needed, this cuts down on the energy used for transportation. Then, it lowers the item’s carbon footprint and makes it more eco-friendly.
Using recycled filament is an environmentally friendly way to reduce the waste of 3D printing. Recycling involves grinding, melting, and extruding the reworked plastic into new filaments. However, this can result in lower quality and uniformity than virgin material.
In addition to reducing the amount of wasted materials, recycled 3D printing filaments are also less expensive. It makes them an excellent choice for people who want to build their printers or save money.
SEE ALSO: Top Facts About Recycling Electronics
Many companies produce recycled 3D printing filaments, including PET, PC-ABS, and nylon. Some use post-consumer recycled materials, while others use pre-consumer recycled plastics.
In addition, some companies use garbage from landfills to produce recycled 3D printing filament. This material is created by heating solid garbage through pyrolysis, producing a black char byproduct that can be turned into a plastic 3D printing filament.