How 3D Printing Can Save the Environment

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.

3D Printing

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.

3D Printing Environmentally-Friendly by Choosing Sustainable Material

The material used for 3D printing is probably the most important part when talking about its sustainability. In the last years, there have, for instance, already been movements towards developing 3D printer material from recycled plastic. In a study, Joshua Pear from Michigan Technological University has shown that plastic filament from milk jugs is quite energy-efficient.

Turning Waste into Fashion with 3D Printing

3D printing allows not only reducing waste, this technology also offers ways to reuse it which is rather interesting for the fashion industry. The sports brand Adidas, for example, has recently printed a new shoe. Their concept sneaker, which was displayed at drupa, has a 3D printed midsole created from recycled fishing nets.

3D Printed Meat: The Next Big Thing

But there are even more innovations: The food industry is another sector where 3D printing could help saving the environment. Considering the fact that emissions caused by cows are more damaging to the planet than CO2 from cars, 3D printed meat could be the next big thing. Professor Keith Belk from Colorado State University’s Center for Meat and Quality suggests that printing the accurate texture of the meat is technically feasible. At a time when people strive for organic, naturally produced products, it is questionable whether this approach will establish in future or not. Anyway, the benefit to the environment would be immeasurable if it became possible to consume ‘animal’ products without raising animals.

These approaches show that 3D printing has more to offer than just simplifying production processes. It belongs to the many technological advances leading to more sustainability.

What do you think: In which other sectors can 3D printing help saving the environment?