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In recent years, 3D printing is experiencing a boom. While helping to design and create products faster than ever before, this technology also known as additive manufacturing is revolutionizing every field it enters.
The result is that it is becoming more affordable. So, it has great potential in many areas – even when it comes to environmental issues.

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The Internet of Things (IoT) is looking forward to an exciting future. Although it is going to entail many advantages, some experts are concerned about its environmental impact. After all, it will comprise more than 200 billion connected devices by 2021 resulting in a huge amount of e-waste due to the batteries needed in order to power them. But Finnish researchers are already searching for a solution.

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With the rise of e-commerce and a huge increase in the number of shippings sustainability is a serious factor. Millions of parcels are delivered to people around the world packed in paper, plastic boxes or envelopes. The UK based company Emailers Packaging came up with a new possibility for sustainable shipping: the paper padded envelope.

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Today it is important to think, act and print in a sustainable way. Therefore every manufacturer, company and consumer should find ways to save resources and protect the environment even during a print process. In fact, there are various approaches to increase the efficiency of print jobs. As usual it’s the little things that also count, e.g. the ink. Very few know that, when it comes to text documents, it also depends on the font you choose for your text.

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Climate change, disease, pollution, unsustainable fishing, and dredging are major threats to coral reefs. The WWF states that almost 30 percent of the world’s coral reefs have already disappeared and estimates that 60 percent of them will be destroyed over the next 30 years, if no changes occur. 3D printing now offers the chance to repair the damage already done and avoid larger damage.

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Modern technologies such as 3D printing might help on the journey towards a greener world. Just last year sports brand Adidas partnered with Parley for the Oceans to develop an innovative shoe concept which uses plastic waste from the ocean and 3D technology to tackle the pollution of the oceans.

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The cost of energy generated by solar power has drastically declined over the past 40 years due to new technologies and efficiency improvements. The latest invention in this field comes from Aalto University and Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne. Their scientists recently developed a simple printing process that allows to print pictures able to generate power.

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Our digitalized world gives us the opportunity to save money and resources by organizing tasks on a computer. But according to a study carried out by the German Ministry of Environment Germans use about 250 kg paper per year and capita. A Chinese team of scientists has now developed a smart and resource-efficient alternative: Rewritable paper that can be printed on with water instead of ink.

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Leyla Acaroglu is a leading sustainability strategist and an expert in life cycle and systems thinking in design, production and consumption. Her TED Talk has been watched by more than one million people. In this interview, she shares her insights about better ways to design packaging and about the most common sustainable packaging myths.

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Economic concerns, technological threat and uncertain futures have contributed to a crisis of confidence in print. Throw in rapidly changing market expectations and media choices, and you have an industry that’s been on the back foot for several years. But a reversal is underway. Print is reinventing itself to be more vibrant than ever, an energetic force in a multichannel communications world.

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Future Links CW 12 – Green Printing Edition

This edition of our future links is all about green printing. Be it the launch of a new sustainability standard for textile printing, a new product range with health and environmental advantages or printing with cellulose, the five pillars of sustainable printing production or tips for ecologically printing in business: This week revolves around sustainable and eco-friendly solutions from the printing industry.