Our Sustainable 3D Printing Centre
While we are ambassadors of innovation and technology, we also want to provide it in a positive way that’s good for our planet. We are always looking for ways to become more environmentally friendly, reduce waste and be more sustainable, we are investigating and innovating ways that anyone can re-use plastics.
We are working towards using only biodegradable or recycled materials with our 3D Printers, working towards creating our own recycled filament, raising awareness and providing plastic recycling education.
It’s estimated that only a third of UK plastics are recycled each year, with almost two-thirds sent to landfill or incinerated.
8.3bn tonnes of plastics have been produced to date, half of this material was made in the past 13 years
Of the discarded plastic, roughly 9% has been recycled, 12% has been incinerated, 79% has gone to landfill. Current trends point to 12 billion tonnes of plastic waste will be in landfills by 2050.
The Marine Conservation Society found 718 pieces of litter for every 100m stretch of beach surveyed during their recent Great British Beach Clean Up. That was a 10% increase on last year.
3D Printing with Poly-Lactic Acid (PLA) filament
Wondering what PLA filament is made from? Poly-Lactic Acid is a thermoplastic polymer made from renewable resources like corn, starch and sugarcane, PLA is sometimes referred to as bioplastic, most thermoplastics are distilled from non-renewable resources like petroleum.
Because PLA is a natural product, it is biodegradable, in a composting system PLA will naturally break down in about three to six months, compare this to other thermoplastics which could take up to one thousand years to biodegrade.
Remember to keep PLA separate from your recyclable plastics, as it is a plant based product and needs to be composted and not sent to landfill.
Produce Our Own 3D Printing Filament
While PLA is a great product to print with, there are pro’s & con’s in printing with PLA and printing with plastics like ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene). ABS is a lot sturdier, so more suitable for machine parts as it has a higher melting point.
We are working with local communities to create a Precious Plastic Workshop, collecting and recycling discarded plastics, shredding plastic waste into flakes and placing them into an extrusion machine to make recycled 3D printing filament.
Not only is discarded plastic a free resource for everyone, it’s great for helping clean-up local communities and the environment! The best bit is – anyone can make their own plastic workshop, all the plans we use are freely available.
The first step is to understand what kind of plastic you have in your hands! Plastics are divided into many different categories depending on their structure and properties. If you look for the recycling symbol, different plastics can be recognised by their name or number that should be stamped on them, this is their resin code ranging from one to seven – see below which plastic materials we are starting to work with, we will expand on the plastics we work with in the future.
Types of Plastic
When bringing in plastics please ensure they’re clean, any dust, dirt or other impurities will cause problems with the recycling.
Strong plastic used in drink bottles & jars
High Density Polyethylene
Milk, juice, shampoo & detergent bottles
Toxic when heated – Plumbing pipes
Low Density Polyethylene
Grocery, sandwich bags & squeezable bottles
Medicine bottles, bottle caps, tupperware, yogurt pots
Coffee cups, plastic food boxes, cutlery and packing foam
All Other Plastics
Plastics such as ABS, Acrylic or Polycarbonate fall into this category
Become a Hero. Get Involved.
Help us to reduce waste, contact us to help collect & recycle plastic
Plastic Recycling Reward Program
We want everyone to get involved in helping to reduce waste, we plan to set-up a rewards program to recycle plastic. The more you hand in, the more you will earn, you will be able to use points to get time in the 3D Print Centre with staff and equipment, have us digitally print something you would like or to get a discount on workshops.
We’ll also ensure to do our bit by organising community clean-up events and working with communities throughout North Wales to help them set-up Plastic Recycling Centres, and hopefully in 2018 we will have a mobile recycling and 3D Print Studio.
Precious Plastics have created machines that are made from basic materials, affordable & easy to build, enabling anyone to recycle plastic, all the plans and tutorials are freely available on their website.
Precious Plastic is a global community of hundreds of people working towards a solution to plastic pollution started in 2013 by Dave Hakkens. Knowledge, tools and techniques are shared online, for free – you should go check them out!
Why Create 3D Printing Services?
It ties in really well with who we are (our corporate values) and our focus in promoting Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts & Mathematics (STEAM), teaching the skills to prepare a new generation for the future. 3D printing can be used for all sorts of things, such as in Aerospace, Art, Designing a Prototype, Engineering, Hobbies, Home, Product Design, Primary, Secondary Education and so much more.
Plastics have outgrown most man-made materials and have long been under environmental scrutiny. Around 8300 million metric tons (Mt) as of plastics have been produced to date. As of 2015, approximately 6300 Mt of plastic waste had been generated, if current production and waste management trends continue, roughly 12,000 Mt of plastic waste will be in landfills or in the natural environment by 2050.
We want to create products that are sustainable by re-using discarded plastics, and by using biodegradable material, which reduces the footprint with travel, shipping and packaging, cutting down on unnecessary waste. We are using free and opensource equipment and software wherever possible, to bring down the costs and make it affordable for anyone wanting to get into 3D Printing.
Contact us and register below to receive information about our 3D Printing Workshops and Services. Like us on facebook.com/G2GCommunitiesCIC and join us in our 3D Printing Facebook Group – facebook.com/groups/G2G3DPrinting for all the latest news & information.
Latest News from Our 3D Printing Blog
Our Partners – Proud to Work With
Thank you to our partners that are instrumental in the development and operation to help us create a Sustainable 3D Printing Centre to help and support local communities, schools and businesses.