On the flip side

It seems self-evident that recycling used fishing gear is a good idea, but the idea behind Fishy Filaments goes further.

Right now low-cost 3D printing is still a niche activity, for dedicated hobbyists and advanced manufacturing, but in the last few months printer makers have started to market very capable machines at under £300 directly to educational establishments and for the use of young people.

A recent industry report by Gartner put growth in sales of cheap desktop 3D printers at 106% in 2016, to October. Thats a doubling of sales in 10 months and the forecast is for a similar growth path to at least 2020.

Most of these desktop printers will use either PLA (a biodegradable plastic mainly derived from excess cornstarch, much of which is produced in the US) or ABS (an oil-derived plastic that is persistent in the environment).

Many other material types and variants are available, most of which are made from first-use crude oil, and there is currently an explosion of new materials coming to market. Almost all of them are made entirely of first-use, rather than recycled, plastics.

Depending on the technology, the process of 3D printing can create quite a lot of waste alongside the remarkable forms that is well known for. The photo below shows my own waste production for 9 months.

I use about a kilo of PLA (the biodegradable plastic) a month and produce around 250g a month of waste. That means about 25% of all the raw material I buy goes into my waste collection bin. Now, I collect the stuff because thats what I do, but there is no infrastructure to collect or recycle the material apart from the general domestic or trade waste. There is no commercial way for an active prototyping department, a college teaching advanced engineering skills or exploring experimental art to mitigate the impact of their production of 3D printer wastes.

Fishy Filaments is built as a true Circular Economy business. We want to take your 3D printer waste as well as sell you our recycled filament, and of course sell it back to you 😉

Author: Fishy Filaments

Recycling marine plastics into 3D printer filament

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