Why Reduce CO2 Emissions with 3D Printing?

In a recent survey, Carbon Footprint was identified as the most common key environmental indicator for measuring sustainability of 3D printing filament. 

With CO2 a leading contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, reducing carbon footprint is key to mitigating the climate crisis. By focusing on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, 3D printing operators are aligning with the global movement to achieve net-zero emissions

The use of recycled 3D printing filament has a tangible impact on reducing carbon emissions, but how much exactly? 

What is the CO2 Footprint Saving of Using Recycled Filament?

Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is an extensive process that evaluates the environmental impact of a product or service at every stage of its lifespan. This includes everything from the initial extraction of raw materials to the final phase of its life. 

A recent analysis of Kimya’s recycled PETG 3D filament reveals a significant reduction in carbon footprint. The study indicates that while the standard Kimya PETG filament emits 6.27 kg of CO2, its recycled counterpart only releases 4.08 kg of CO2. This finding underscores a notable 35% decrease in CO2 emissions when opting for the recycled version of filament. 

In line with this, Prusa has also made significant strides in reducing its carbon footprint. Prusa’s own LCA demonstrates a significant lowering of CO2 emissions: Prusament PETG Recycled reduces emissions by 56% (from 5.85 to 2.55 kg CO2/kg), and Prusament PLA Recycled achieves a 57% reduction, dropping from 5.76 to 2.47 kg CO2/kg.

Pre-Consumer vs Post-Consumer Recycled Filament

In a recent Filamentive article, the differences between pre-consumer and post-consumer recycled materials were explained. 

Pre-consumer (post-industrial) material is easy to collect (in-situ), typically single source, free of contamination and because of that, performance is on par with virgin material. The aforementioned Kimya, Prusa and Filamentive also utlise this grade of recycled material for these reasons.

Recycling post-consumer waste has a significant environmental benefit since this type of waste often ends up in landfills, however, its adoption is limited because these waste streams usually contain a mix of different polymers, making reprocessing more expensive, as well as the higher variability in performance and quality versus pre-consumer waste streams.

That said UK business, Fishy Filaments has overcome these challenges and recycles post-consumer waste fishing nets to produce recycled nylon filament. The recycling model offers up to 98% less CO2 impact versus virgin nylon.

Reduce your 3D Printing CO2 Footprint with Recycled Filament

Reducing CO2 emissions through the use of recycled filament in 3D printing is a crucial step towards sustainable manufacturing and aligning with the global goal of achieving net-zero emissions

Life Cycle Assessments demonstrate substantial reductions in CO2 emissions of 35-57% with recycled filaments from companies like Kimya and Prusa.

Innovations like Fishy Filaments’ recycled nylon from post-consumer waste fishing nets, which offer a dramatically lower CO2 impact – up to 98% – illustrating the potential in this area.

As we move forward and 3D printing further proliferates, both pre-consumer and post-consumer recycled materials must be prioritised. This commitment to continual improvement in sustainability practices is not just a necessity for our environment, but a responsibility towards future generations in our pursuit of net-zero emissions.

How Filamentive Reduces the Carbon Emissions of 3D Printing

 

Filamentive is at the forefront of reducing carbon emissions in 3D printing, focusing on sustainable raw materials. By using mainly post-industrial recycled materials, we align with ISO 14021 standards, diverting waste from manufacturing processes and minimising reliance on finite oil resources. This approach significantly lowers energy demands compared to creating virgin polymers, thus reducing our carbon footprint. 

Partnering with Ecologi, Filamentive offsets carbon emissions from production and transportation, contributing to reforestation and renewable energy projects. Our Ecologi Profile Page transparently displays our environmental impact, including our virtual forest and carbon reduction efforts, exemplifying our dedication to a carbon-conscious, environmentally responsible future in 3D printing.