According to an estimate from data collected in 2010, humans produce 275 million tons of plastic. About 8 million tons end up in the ocean, obstructing the airways of marine life and poisoning the water with toxins. This drives the need for sustainable 3D Printing materials.
Since plastics were first developed in the 1930’s and 1940’s, a steady increase in manufacturing of plastic objects has occurred. This is primarily due to plastic having high robustness and overall material properties suitable for packaging. However, some of the same desirable properties, such as longevity of a material, can become problematic if not disposed of responsibly. Plastic’s waste disposal, in addition to its product sourcing, manufacturing, and transportation, contributes negatively to the environment. The demand for plastic has significantly increased toxic material exposure for humans and wildlife.
There is a societal need for improvements in plastic manufacturing and materials from a sustainable environmental perspective. The full lifecycle of plastic production, usage, and subsequent waste disposal must be considered. Additive Manufacturing offers the potential to print on demand and at site, reducing the pollution that results from plastic transportation and production. Sustainable 3D Printing materials allow integration of natural renewable fibers and polymers derived from crops or recycled feedstock. The application of compostable materials in 3D Printing has the potential to revolutionize product manufacturing and improve environmental conditions.
With the goal of reducing waste generation, ALT utilizes 3D Printing materials including recyclable plastics and composites that are sustainable for the earth. We employ a number of different natural fibers in printer filament such as Hemp, flax/linen, silk, and wood. ALT offers filaments composed of recycled PET (from bottles) and ABS (from cars). Below is a list of products from manufacturers that have been pursuing green material solutions suitable for 3D printing. Select the manufacturer's name to be forwarded to the product page.
Refilament.com Recycled PET Bottles
3D4MAKERS.com PLA + 10% HEMP Fibers
3D-Fuel Buzzed Beer biproduct, PLA + coffee biproducts, PLA + Hemp
Algix3D ALGA Filament
WillowFlex Natural WillowFlex
EUBIO/2Life PLA from production waste
Extrudr Flax, Pearl, Green-TEC
TwoBears Silk, Linen
Colorfabb Bamboofill, Corkfill