ALT LLC

Sustainable 3D Printing Materials

3DALT_recycling

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 for packaging. However, some of the same desirable properties such as longevity of a material can also become problematic if not disposed of responsibly at its end of life.  For instance, Jambeck et al. estimated that  of the 275 million tons of plastic produced in 2010, about eight million tons wound up in the ocean, obstructing the airways of marine life and poisoning the water with toxins. [Jenna Jambeck, 2015]. This drives the need for sustainable 3D Printing materials.

Sustainable 3D Printing Materials
Need for Sustainable 3D Printing Materials
ECOfilament
ECO Friendly Novel Materials

Environmental Impact

There is a societal need for improvements in plastic manufacturing and materials from a sustainable environmental perspective [Kubota 2005].  The environmental impact of plastic manufacture stems from a few different sources. For instance, environmental impact comes from toxic material exposure to humans and the ecosystem in general, water pollution, and air pollution that subsequently affects climate change. Additionally, one needs to consider the use of resources for example energy dissipation, water and materials required to manufacture.  Ultimately, the full lifecycle of the product sourcing, manufacture, usage, and subsequent waste disposal must be considered.   This will lead to consumers increasingly being interested in products that use fewer natural resources, less harmful to the environment and provide overall less pollution [Luchs et al 2010]. Additive Manufacturing offers the potential to manufacture on demand and at site, reducing the need for transport of the manufactured object to the desired location.

With this in mind, we have an opportunity to utilize sustainable 3D Printing materials using both natural renewable fibers, and polymers that are either derived from crops or from recycled feedstocks.  Advantageously, Additive manufacturing provides the ability to source materials and deliver objects close to the location of use.  Use of materials that can ultimately be composted and break down into humus has the potential to make a significant impact on the world.

3DALT.com is increasing our use of sustainable 3D Printing materials such as recyclable plastics and composites that are sustainable for the earth. There are a number of different natural fibers being employed in printer filament such as Hemp, flax/linen,  silk, wood (cork, bamboo, algae, and other materials such as Coffee, and Beer bi-products) . Also, filaments are now available that utilize recycled PET (from bottles), ABS (from cars) for instance. We compile below a list of  products and manufacturers have been pursuing green material solutions suitable for 3D printing. These are outlined in the table below:

Sustainable 3D Printing Materials

Material Manufacturer
Recycled PET BottlesRefilament.com
PLA + 10% HEMP Fibers3D4MAKERS.com
Buzzed Beer biproduct3D-Fuel
PLA + coffee biproducts3D Fuel
PLA + Hemp3D Fuel
ALGA FilamentAlgix3D
BamboofillColorfabb
CorkfillColorfabb
PLA from production wasteEUBIO/2Life
FlaxExtrudr
PearlExtrudr
Green-TECExtrudr
SilkTwoBears
LinenTwoBears
WillowFlex NaturalWillowFlex

Please send us a note if we are missing any products that should be on this list.

References:

  1. Jambeck J. R. ,Geyer , Wilcox C, Siegler T. R, Perryman M., Andrady A., Narayan R., Law K.L., “Plastic waste inputs from land into the ocean“ Science Feb 13, Vol 347 Issue 6223 pp 768-771 Retrieved from http://science.sciencemag.org/
  2. Luchs, Michael G., Rebecca Walker Naylor, Julie R. Irwin, and Rajagopal Raghunathan (2010), “The Sustainability Liability: Potential Negative Effects of Ethicality on Product Preference,” Journal of Marketing, 74 (September), 18-31.
  3. Kubota M.,Takayama K. and Namimoto D. (2005).Pleading for the use of biodegradable polymers in favour of marine environments and to avoid an asbestos-like problem for the future. Appl. Microbiol. Biotechno. 67: 469-476.
  4. Allsopp, M, Walters A., Santillo, D, Johnston P., “Plastic Debris in the World’s Oceans”, Greenpeace.
  5. Murray R. (2002). Zero Waste. Published by Greenpeace Environmental Trust, United Kingdom. ISBN 1 903907 01 2

8/6/2016  Author: Dr Jonathon Barton PhD Material Science

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