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Environment

3D printing a sustainable solution

According to WTVOX, a global media platform dedicated to achieving sustainable fashion, the new wave of cheaper, smaller and faster 3D printers are behind “industry-changing creation.”

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Close Brothers Asset Finance, found that 55% of consumers are willing to spend more with companies that have environmentally friendly business practices

WTVOX is described by Crunchbase as ‘the digital converging point for a global audience of influencer executives, entrepreneurs, and consumers interested in the merger of fashion with technology, for a better future and more sustainable industry.’

The platform outlines 3D printing technology as a critical factor in sustainable development due to its removal of the need for product transportation across the world thanks to onsite printing.

Whilst the energy efficiency of 3D printing has been questioned – with one study finding that 3D printers utilising heat or lasers use 50 to 100 times more electricity than traditional production methods - the ability to print onsite and the fact that products created through 3D printing tend to be lighter than other products, reduces the emissions from transportation reducing the impact on the environment.

engineers are continually working to develop durable biodegradable materials for use in 3D printing as an alternative to the currently widely used thermoplastic

Because designers can use recyclable materials in the production stage of 3D printing, WTVOX argues that this method of printing achieves the zero-waste level of manufacturing required for sustainable development.

According to Fabbaloo, one of the two main plastics used in 3D printing comes from corn. Polylactic acid or PLA is biodegradable, renewable, non-toxic and creates little waste, making it a popular choice in the industry. Alternatively, metals, glass, ceramics and organic compounds can all be used in 3D printing.

Furthermore, engineers are continually working to develop durable biodegradable materials for use in 3D printing as an alternative to the currently widely used thermoplastic which whilst recyclable, is known to become brittle when recycled frequently.

With a rise in 3D printed products imminent - according to a report from MarketsandMarkets, a compound annual growth of 21.60% is estimated in the 5-year time period ending in 2021 – now is the time for printers to assess how they can best utilise the sustainable options available in 3D printing to meet increasing client demands for environmentally friendly products.

If you have any news, please email carys@linkpublishing.co.uk or join in with the conversation on Twitter.


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