Despite being established in the 1980s, it is only in recent years that 3D printing has had a major impact on our day-to-day lives. Nowadays, we can’t pick up a newspaper or turn on the TV without being greeted with another new development that is steadily revolutionising our how we live.
But, how environmentally friendly is 3D printing? In this post, we’ll be taking a look at just how green the newest craze in the world of technology can be.
In traditional manufacturing processes, raw materials like iron and steel feature heavily. These materials have been used in the process for many years, but are often detrimental to the environment as they come from core, using up the earth’s resources.
3D printing, however, is greener in this sense as it often makes use of plastic. Once created, this is much more favourable to the environment as it can easily be recycled.
In an effort to be kinder to the environment, many manufacturers are making the switch from traditional methods. For example, companies like Omega Plastics, which specialises in injection moulding, is welcoming 3D printing into its business.
Shipping products around the globe can be very costly, while also generating a hefty carbon footprint. Whether it’s by air or car, it all contributes to our carbon emissions.
However, 3D printing works to minimise this. Designs for products can be quickly and easily sent to different locations via email, before being printed onsite, lessening the environmental impact of distribution.
According to Nature.com, agricultural food production accounts for around one third of all greenhouse gas emissions. However, 3D printing could be the solution to lowering emissions created by the agricultural industry.
Back in 2012, The Guardian published an article about meat that had been scientifically created in a laboratory. Produced from cow stem cells, this type of food manufacturing results in a 96 per cent reduction in greenhouse gases, as well as taking up just one per cent of the land currently used for agricultural purposes.
Although this concept is still being investigated as a plausible alterative to food production, there is potential for 3D printing to transform the way we produce meat, making it a quicker and much more environmentally-friendly process, with far-reaching benefits.
This isn’t the only way that food production has been affected: Gizmag recently published a story about developments that could allow astronauts to enjoy pizza in space. Take a look at a video of this impressive process here.
As we continue to learn more about 3D printing, food production, as well as other industries, are sure to become even greener.