Recently we sent out a material sustainability survey (thank you to those who contributed). One question was What do you consider as the biggest cause/s of 3D printing waste? – as you can see from the results table below, 80.98% of respondents indicated that failed prints was the biggest cause.
In a previous blog post, we had briefly discussed about the possibility of using failed prints for extrusion purposes. However, we understand that having such a set up can be expensive and impractical for someone doing 3D printing as a hobby.
However for large volume users such as businesses, this can be a viable process to eliminate 3D printing waste and also reduce on-going filament costs. One of our architecture clients, Make Architects, do exactly this – primarily they use Filamentive PLA to produce 3D printed models, and following use, these prints are shredded and then the plastic waste is extruded into 100% recycled PLA filament for reuse in 3D printing.
How to Recycled 3D Prints into Filament
Filamentive – Recycling Waste in 3D Printing Filament
Whilst recycling failed prints and 3D printing waste from customers remains challenging for Filamentive as a business, we feel the methods discussed in this blog post at least provide a source of creative inspiration to those looking recycling & upcycle their 3D printing waste – especially if a filament extruder is not a viable option.
Despite the challenges, recycling 3D printing waste has long been an aspiration of ours and we’re continuously researching the viability of a waste management service. Offering such a service one-day will truly help us move one step closer to achieving a circular economy and reduce – if not eliminate – plastic waste within 3D printing. Until such a solution is achieved, we will still continue to be the sustainable choice in 3D printing by committing to:
- Using recycled material (post-consumer and post-industrial) where possible
- Avoid the use of new, virgin polymers to reduce energy and demand for raw materials
- Utlise plant-based bioplastics when there is no recycled alternative
- Forming strategic partnerships with recycling companies to use their waste streams to produce filament
- Using 100% recyclable cardboard spools to further reduce waste and increase the recyclability of our products/packaging