Sustainable practices have become even more important now, as climate change has become worse. The 3D Printing space has been moving towards this direction of helping the environment and the world. In this episode, Tom and Tracy Hazzard discuss Zero Waste 3D Printing and in what aspects it is critical. They also talk about the many new materials that are biodegradable or can be recycled and reused. Take part in sustainable practices as Tom and Tracy show you how you can make any green goals attainable with your 3D Prints.
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Zero Waste 3D Printing
This is Ask Us Anything.
The question is, can 3D printing be zero waste?
To me, 3D printing is already a whole lot lower waste than a lot of other manufacturing techniques because you don’t hold inventory, you don’t have pounds and pounds of materials lying around. To me, it’s already low waste. Is zero waste a critical criteria?
Let’s talk about this from a practical perspective. I think 3D printing has the potential to be zero waste.
It’s low waste already.
It’s low as compared to other manufacturing processes, but from a practical perspective, it’s not completely zero waste.
My question still is why? Sometimes we need support materials, things that you’re going to knock off and throw away. If you use that as criteria saying that I needed zero waste and I couldn’t use support material or a raft, then you’re limiting your design possibilities. Why is this important? Are people paying for that? Don’t get me wrong, I’m the green girl here. I had a blog years ago about going green. It still has to be practical and there has to be a profitable reason to be zero waste.
What you’re getting at here is if you were to create your design based on zero waste, you’d limit the appearance of it so that people are going to walk right by that product. If they see it on the shelves or if they’re looking at it in an online catalog of things, it’s not going to catch their eye. It’s not going to be as interesting looking because you limited the appearance of it based on zero waste. Certainly, I think it’s great that a lot of people out there aspire to have zero waste and we’re all thinking more environmentally. I want an electric car. I haven’t found one that’s practical enough for me that I can afford yet. We all have environmental concerns and zero waste is a good one. The reality of 3D printing, even though the plastic that’s wasted could be recycled and used it. The waste material doesn’t have a recycle number on it. If you put it in your recycle bin, they’re not going to know what to do with it.
There are a lot of these new ones coming out. Our next episode is about biodegradable.
The company 3D Printlife is coming out with a biodegradable ABS that perform and looks the same as normal ABS. We’re working hard on this. Watch out for that episode to learn more about that. You put it in the landfill and we’re not talking in decades. We’re talking in months due to being in the ground, it biodegrades and vanishes from the landfill. That’s a good thing.
Buzz Baldwin, he’s going to be our guest. He did a great job because he also said, “Why do I want to put it on a plastic spool after all?” He put it on a recyclable cardboard spool as well.
The spool is made of three pieces and comes apart and it’s easily recyclable. That kind of thinking is great in general. We go through a lot of filament in our business and we’ve got a ton of this plus exposed kicking around as I haven’t recycled them because they don’t have recycle numbers. I don’t think our people are going to recycle.
There’s no reason that they should be made out of recycled material.
I’m hanging on to them hoping I’m going to find a way to repurpose them somehow. I completely understand the motivation for making something zero waste. I think there are times and places to do that and it’s not necessary all the time. In fact, it can hurt your ultimate goal for your product if you set that up as firm criteria from the get-go.
I can’t even imagine with the amount of iterations we make that it’s ever going to be zero waste. I think it’s a critical part of us making better designs is the fact that we do trial and error in the design process. We don’t do that in manufacturing. Once we’re running it, the thing is running.
Our 3D printer is running and we’re building multiples of our 3D twist tie, which is going to be sold on Amazon. That thing is running almost around the clock printing that product for stock. There’s little waste. In the beginning, I probably made at least a dozen if not two dozen of them that wasn’t right. They were waste.
It happens. It’s a part of the process. I don’t think that manufacturing, in general, zero waste is a goal. It’s an aspiration and I don’t think it’s a necessity.
Most companies look at that as a percentage of waste of the overall material they’re buying. They try to keep that number as low as possible. That’s the goal. Nobody achieved zero waste.
It’s unattainable, especially in additive manufacturing. Go for the goal. I’m all for an easygoing green.
Go for it but be practical and realistic about it at the same time. Thanks for your question. Don’t forget if you have other questions, find us, ask us anything at HazzDesign.com. Every page has a send voicemail button or send us an email at Info@HazzDesign.com or on social media, Twitter, Facebook, and otherwise @HazzDesign. Thanks for reading and we will be looking forward to talking to you in a future episode.
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