Earth Day is an annual event celebrated on April 22nd to raise awareness and appreciation for the natural environment. As our world continues to face environmental challenges such as climate change, deforestation, and pollution, it is important that we take steps to reduce our impact on the planet. One way we can do this is by using sustainable 3D printing materials.

3D printing is a rapidly growing industry that has the potential to revolutionise manufacturing and production processes. However, traditional 3D printing materials such as plastics can have a significant environmental impact. Plastics take hundreds of years to decompose and can release harmful chemicals into the environment during production and disposal. 

Fortunately, there are sustainable 3D printing materials available that are more environmentally friendly offering reduced impact on the planet. 

PLA Filament

PLA is a bioplastic material made from renewable resources such as cornstarch or sugarcane. It is a popular choice for 3D printing due to its low toxicity, ease of use and wide colour range. 

Where possible, Filamentive recycled PLA filament is produced from post-industrial recycled material – waste from manufacturing process which would otherwise be reused if not recycled.

PETg Filament

PETg is a recyclable plastic commonly used for beverage bottles. It can also be recycled and used as a 3D printing material, reducing the amount of plastic waste in landfills. PETg is an advantageous 3D printing for applications requiring strength, durability and greater thermal and chemical resistance, compared to PLA.

Filamentive PETg is made from high percentage recycled material and is ideal for those looking for recycled PETg filament for 3D printing.

Wood-based Filament

Wood-based filaments are made from recycled wood fibres mixed with a binding agent. They have a natural wood-like appearance and can be used to create sustainable products.

Filamentive Wood PLA filament is a specially formulated blend of 40% recycled wood fibres, 60% recycled PLA. Wood PLA filament provides a realistic wood colour and finish, and can even be post-processed to further improve the visual appearance.

Algae-based Filament

ALGA is an algae 3D printing filament. It combines PLA with nuisance algae that has been removed from the environment. Algal blooms are a problem for marine life due to their toxicity. Removing algae has two direct benefits – removing invasive algae away from aquatic life, and second, reintroducing oxygen to allow native marine species to thrive.

ALGA is a sustainable 3D printing material because its use helps to remove problematic algae, and its application as 3D printer filament ensures a lesser impact on the environment. ALGA is also a biodegradable 3D printing filament, meeting ASTM D6400 standards.

The Need for Sustainable Spooling for 3D Printing Filament

With filament spools typically accounting for 20% of 3D printing waste generated, it is important that this component is as sustainable as possible. A 2019 Filamentive survey also found that two-thirds of plastic filament spools are not being reused or recycled.

Thankfully, filament brands are now moving away from plastic spools, transitioning to sustainable spooling such as cardboard, or even Masterspool

To reduce plastic use and avoid hard-to-recycle plastic, Filamentive commits to 100% recyclable cardboard spools for all ≤2.3 kg products. This is environmentally beneficial because cardboard is a widely recycled material. This ensures easy end-user recycling which helps to further reduce environmental impact, helping to ensure 3D printing is as sustainable as possible.  

The Importance of Sustainable Materials for 3D Printing Filament

By using these sustainable 3D printing materials, we can reduce our impact on the environment and move towards a more sustainable future. In addition to using these materials, we can also recycle 3D printing waste and reduce our overall consumption of single-use plastics.

This Earth Day, let’s take a moment to reflect on the impact we have on the planet and take steps towards a more sustainable future. By using sustainable 3D printing materials, we can create innovative products while protecting the environment for generations to come