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Industrial Sustainability & Recycling: CLIFFF Brings 3D Printing Plastics Full Circle

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As GoPrint3D partners with In-Cycle and HSSMI on an Innovate UK project: Closed Loop Innovation in Fused Filament Fabrication (CLIFFF), the focus is on ‘reprocessing’ prints that have been discarded and sending them back into circulation as quality 3D printing filament.

 “Plastic waste is a huge concern for people at the moment,” said Joanna Young, Managing Director of GoPrint3D. “By tackling this issue, we will be removing a number of barriers to 3D printing.”

Managing plastics and other items that are being dumped into landfills and oceans around the world presents more than just a sense of concern—there is a sense of urgency about fixing the problem now, not adding to it. Luckily, most 3D printing users want to contribute to the world, not detract—and finding a way to take plastics and other materials full cycle can be challenging, but many new up and coming businesses are dedicated to the cause.

CLIFFF is meant to offer a ‘fully circular business model’ for additive manufacturing, born from a  progressive project that the partners see as offering new advantages both economically and environmentally—meaning that less plastics are going into trash dumps, while creating excellent new materials and even creating jobs. If you are engaged in 3D printing, you probably realize the potential for discarded plastics to pile up.

“There is currently no industrial recycling system for waste 3D printing materials, so CLIFFF is taking some proactive first steps to improve the sustainability of the industry,” explains Dr Mike Lee, Director of In-Cycle. “We aim to show the industry that it’s possible to set up closed-loop recycling systems that create both environmental and economic gains from otherwise discarded waste streams.”

The team is currently seeking 3D printing users to take a survey, focusing on questions to help them continue in their mission to collect the following:

  • Failed 3D prints users have discarded
  • Support material
  • Reel-ends
  • Empty spools

“The growth in additive manufacturing is exceeding expectations and revolutionizing the development in bespoke manufacturing. Additive Manufacturing can help to develop parts in a more sustainable way, but it also has a negative environmental impact” explains Inigo Bontigui, Lean Engineer of HSSMI. “CLIFFF is aiming to reduce 3D printing plastic impact by establishing an end-of-life processing system.”

Are you interested in taking the survey? If so, click here, and find out more about the project overall here.

3D printing and recycling is an ongoing topic and one of great concern as so many incredible innovations are brought forth—but so is a lot of plastic trash. Users around the world do their part by recycling powder into filament, translating used plastics into prosthetics, and even create programs to recycle in space.

What do you think of this news? Let us know your thoughts! Join the discussion of this and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com.

[Source / Images: GoPrint3D]

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