CAN 3D PRINTING SAVE THE WORLD?

Environmental experts have made some very terrible predictions about what will happen to our planet and, consequently, to us, if we don’t start making some big changes in the way we live, consume, and do business.

No one can fully predict exactly what will happen over the coming years and decades, as there are a lot of variables in play, but the projected scenarios are chilling — rising sea levels swamping cities; increase in disease thanks to poor air quality and excessive heat; threats to food and water supplies, and much more.

We’re already starting to see some of these predictions become reality. Storms are increasing in frequency and intensity, extreme droughts are contributing to wildfires and reduced water supplies, and once-common species are disappearing fast. It’s scary stuff that can make you feel helpless, but the good news is that we’re finally recognizing the threat we’re facing, and coming up withcreative ways to mitigate it.

The causes and effects of climate change and other environmental issues are so pervasive that they should be considered in everything we do, but to think about how we can continue to grow and develop as a productive, technological society without further destroying our planet and our health.

When 3D printing began to emerge into the mainstream, many people touted it as the zero-waste alternative to traditional manufacturing methods. The 3D printing industry and its consumers are a largely conscientious and responsible lot, and manufacturers and makers alike have developed ingenious solutions to not only the environmental problems posed by 3D printers, but to wider environmental issues on a global level.

Many brands of recycled filament and filament recyclers are reducing waste not only from 3D printing material and also from other forms of plastic and non-plastic materials.

The positive environmental impacts of 3D printing technology go far beyond just mitigating its own effects. It may sound grandiose to ask “Can 3D printing save the world?” but it’s not an unreasonable question, and it’s not just about recycling, although that’s one of the areas that has benefited most from many creative 3D printing-related solutions. 3D printing technology has already contributed to sustainability in ways both large and small.

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