Will 3D Printing Help Us Fight Climate Change?


Tuesday February 6, 2018 

3D printing and combatting climate change may seem like an unlikely pairing. But, experts are saying that 3D printers could be the next big thing in green innovation. Here are a few reasons why:

Less Waste, More Sustainability

Unlike traditional methods, 3D printing utilizes additive manufacturing (AM) – where machines build products by combining materials into a product one layer or dot at a time. This means the final product has been built using only the exact amount of material necessary. Conversely, much of today’s production lines utilize subtractive manufacturing (SM) techniques. One example is CNC milling, where the product is turned into a rough shape and then whittled down to the desired dimensions. This creates a lot of waste, since the extra material is discarded and usually ends up in landfills.

Aside from creating less waste when creating individual products, 3D printing also generates less waste overall, due to its flexibility and agility. Currently, factories make products quickly and in bulk, meaning many products will go unpurchased. Factories using 3D printing can quickly adjust production lines to changing consumer tastes, which helps circumvent waste.

Mimicking Nature to Reverse Damage

Rising water temperatures and inconsiderate tourist behavior have destroyed many coral reefs. Biologists have tried to build replacement artificial reefs by dropping concrete blocks into shallow waters. However, many forms of marine life prefer surfaces with tiny crevices and holes for protection against predators, so these large blocks proved ineffective. 3D printing has the capacity to create very fine details within its products – including small holes and varying surfaces – to accommodate smaller marine life.

3D printing is also being used to create seawalls, as water levels continue to rise. 3D printers can generate complex curved cement surfaces that disperse wave energy in many directions. This makes them much more durable and effective than plain block cement seawalls.

To learn more about how 3D printers can help us fight climate change, check out our infographic here:

At Cartridge World, we are not only committed to positively impacting the environment, but also to creating lasting, beneficial relationships with all our customers. Our local, friendly experts are ready to help you with any print-related questions you may have. Find a Cartridge World near you.