Is 3d printing a Green Technology? This is one question most people try to avoid, in fear that their answer might just start an un-ending debate. We have been pulled into many such debates and one thing that we have learned from it is that taking sides can make your best friend on of your fiercest opponent. According to us the debate supporting it or against it is completely unfair as consumer 3d printing is in its infancy. And like we all know kids learns from their mistakes, we should give 3d printing some time to mature as a fool proof solution to production of every day products.
In most of such debates one thing that goes against 3d printing is the extensive use of plastic as a raw material; we all know how hazardous plastic waste is for our existence. If we need 3d printing to be the technology of the future we need to reduce its dependency on plastic as its raw material. 3d printing companies have already developed PLA Plastic a bio-degradable polymer that can be produced from lactic acid, fermented from crops such as maize and corn. There are others making Filaments by recycling waste plastic freely available, while there are some are using radical approach to solve this issue.
Italian designer Marina Ceccolini is one such thinker and problem solver who has looked at the issue with a completely different perspective. She has produced a new kind of filament using Food waste as the base material mixed with potato starch in a 64.5% waste/35.5% starch combination. She calls it AgriDust.
Marina Ceccolini’s Agridust is made using various raw materials like coffee grounds, peanut shells, bean pods, tomato skins, lemons skins and oranges peels. If you look at them closely you will find that most of these are external protective shells or skins of plants and seeds. This makes them bio degrade at a slower rate and work as a perfect raw material. These are also freely available as they are unfit for consumption of humans or any other animal.
Talking about Agridust and its uses Marina Ceccolini said “these technologies are mainly used to create the first prototypes and objects that serve only for a first phase of the study. I don't want to eliminate the use of plastic, because in some sectors that is unthinkable, but in the case of disposable products, you might start to think and act differently.” One unique quality of products made out of Agridust filaments would be the aroma it emits. Thus they make perfect raw material for making flower pots and food packaging materials.
Once the products made out of Agridust go out of their life cycle, they can be easily recycled and would make a perfect recipe for composts nutrients helping organism utilizes to survive and grow.
Products like Agridust are in its proof of concept stage and would need a lot of work on them before they hit the market. Having said that, we would like to appreciate the efforts and farsighted vision of Marina Ceccolini. It open up a lot of opportunities for companies and individuals working towards finding sustainable replacement for plastic and plastic products, and making 3d printing a Green Technology.