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A Guide to Sustainable 3D Printing Filaments

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The 3D filament you pick in a 3D printer can react with the environment differently. If designing a functional part for a machine, your prime focus might be to remain sustainable, per your organization’s code of ethics.

Although you have promised to be eco-friendly, finding the right products might be tricky. You may enjoy using ABS the most for its strength and high heat resistance, but when used, it sets off toxic fumes. So you set your sights on finding a guide to sustainable 3D printing filaments to assist in finding a nontoxic fiber with great properties.

How Is 3D Printing Sustainable?

3D printing is a sustainable practice because it utilizes recycled materials; however, it’s not 100 percent sustainable, and you shouldn’t be led to believe it is. 3D printing still uses energy in its process: the preheating phase builds energy; the pent-up energy creates parts of a model, and then it goes through a cooling process.

Another aspect that makes 3D printing sustainable is cutting traditional factory processes and reducing waste accumulation. Still, it can be a valuable tool for your business because it saves money on outsourcing materials and delaying projects. And 3D printing is sustainable because you can use biodegradable filaments.

What Makes a 3D Printing Filament Eco-Friendly?

The 3D printer is better for the environment when using an eco-friendly 3D printing filament—but what makes a 3D filament sustainable? One thing is for sure; almost all 3D filament is recyclable. Just be sure to keep waste from different polymers sorted and separated from each other.

The components inside the filament make 3D printing filaments eco-friendly; the other part is how recyclable every part of your model is after using it. Every filament you look into should list what type of plastic or other materials it’s made from so you know if it’s safe to recycle.

The Types of Sustainable 3D Printing Filaments

You have access to many types of 3D printer filaments, but the ones to spend the most time looking for and researching are sustainable. Here is a quick look at the types of sustainable 3D printing filaments and their pros and cons.

PETG

PETG is a filament made from polyethylene terephthalate and glycol. Also, PETG is thermoplastic and transparent; when exposed to heat, the plastic easily cuts or morphs into any desired size or shape.

Pros

PETG is considered the middle ground of filaments—it’s firm but remains flexible like PLA, and it’s durable, so it keeps its shape longer, even when exposed to the outdoors. PETG contains glycol, which protects the surface from chemical exposure.

Cons

There are cons to many filaments; one is that there is hardly a superb finish post-production. PETG-made prototypes have a softer surface in the final stages of the creation process, leading to stringing. Removing the strings is easy—use a heat gun or slow down the cooling process.

PLA

PLA has properties similar to PETG, including that it’s eco-friendly. However, its ingredients are more environmentally friendly than PETG; PLA has cornstarch, sugarcane, and cassava. This filament is best for smaller projects since it breaks down rapidly.

Pros

PLA is FDA-approved. Businesses specializing in products that come into contact with food would utilize PLA the most since it’s made with plant-based ingredients. Additionally, PLA has no toxic fumes or odors for the 3D printer to worry about.

Cons

One disadvantage of PLA is that it’s not heat resistant. It’s a material that requires a low temperature to print at. Additionally, PLA isn’t a durable material. Upon finishing a project, the filament wears down through every use, which is also due to its biodegradable properties.

What To Know About Plant-Based 3D Printer Filaments

Plant-based filaments like PLA are the mainstream filament to use. With ingredients similar to those in PLA, other fibers are made from earth-friendly materials like soy and cornstarch. Each filament spool has other ingredients that make it environmentally friendly, such as coffee and hemp plants.

These spools add biodegradable properties to prototypes, making them environmentally friendly for every type of setting.

Why Should You Use an Eco-Friendly 3D Printing Filament?

An eco-friendly 3D printing filament is a better alternative over traditional spools because they contain biodegradable ingredients that retain desirable properties. You’d want to use an eco-friendly 3D printing filament because it reduces waste and costs and is reusable.

Plastic Filaments Can Be Reused

An advantage of using 3D eco-friendly filaments is that the plastic ones are reusable. To help reduce plastic in your business, consider reusing the filament after using it. Manufacturers are working to ensure that no parts they create using a 3D printer end up in their local landfills. So, the way to cut down on waste is to reuse your filament spools and stock up on the best ones to use in your production process.

Consumers Will Love Using Their Items More

Customers might have recently voiced their concerns about how the product ingredients might interact with the environment. Unfortunately, not all 3D filaments react well to the environment. When there isn’t much concern put into what harm the filament contents cause to the ecosystem, consumers find something more eco-friendly.

There are ways for your brand to rebuild itself, and one way is to start utilizing greener practices, starting with buying eco-friendly content like the PETG printing filament. Much like PLA, it has the same properties as other filaments that don’t use glycol or other biodegradable compounds in their formula.

There Is No Change in Product Quality

A biodegradable filament performs just as well as the others but better since it doesn’t take long to break down. A biodegradable filament is modified the same way as a traditional fiber, but again, it’s easier on the environment by eliminating toxic fumes, bad odors, and waste.

Filamatrix Offers the Best Sustainable 3D Printing Filaments

When you buy a filament, it should meet your needs and be friendly to the environment. You can create a happier work environment and make apprehensive consumers better by investing in 3D printing filaments that don’t harm the ecosystem.

You can find a wide assortment of sustainable 3D printing filaments from Filamatrix. We’re a company focused on ensuring that the filaments you get aren’t stripped of any desirable qualities while still being better for the environment. Contact us with any questions about our filaments, and check out our blog for more ways to use filaments. Your 3D printer’s waiting—let’s get to creating.

A Guide to Sustainable 3D Printing Filaments

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