There are existing recycling systems for most polymers in Sweden, the vast majority can be submitted for any plastic recycling. However, until now there has never been a system for recycling PLA. And the fact is that PLA even "contaminates" other plastics if it ends up in the same recycling system.
RE-ADD is an initiative to make 3D printing more sustainable and circular by making use of waste materials and empty spools from 3D printing. Additive manufacturing gives rise to large amounts of material waste.
|Material||Recycling rate 2016||Proposed national target 2025|
The waste is then used to produce the first circular filament in the Nordics - rPLA.
Although PLA is a biologically based and degradable plastic, there are great environmental benefits from recycling it. On the one hand, it takes a long time to break it down, but new production of plastic also requires energy and causes CO2 emissions. By instead creating a circular flow and remanufacturing filaments, the impact of the end product on the environment can be minimized.
Why we can only accept waste from our own products
PLA is available like all other polymers in different grades with different properties. In addition, different filament manufacturers have their own unique blend of additives that are added during production. For example, some manufacturers mix a certain amount of ABS in their PLA. We have chosen to use only biodegradable additives in our filaments - we want to preserve this. Therefore, we have chosen to only accept waste from our own PLA products where we know which substances are included and where we can ultimately guarantee an environmentally friendly product with a consistent quality.
Why we only accept PLA
PLA is by far the most widely used plastic and accounts for around 50% of the total filament market. We at add:north have a special focus on PLA and for us it makes up the majority of our sales. As mentioned above, there are existing systems for recycling most other plastics used in 3D printing - therefore we have initially chosen to focus on PLA in RE-ADD. However, we plan to receive waste from our other plastics as soon as possible.
Why is there a minimum waste and spool limit
In order for the circular flow to have a high positive environmental impact, we need to make sure the transport is as effecient as possible and minimize the amount of "air" shipped.