A New Initiative to Combat Waste in 3D Printing

We are excited to announce the launch of the Filament Recycling Collaborative, an exciting initiative aimed at promoting sustainable practices in the 3D printing community. This collaborative effort brings together organizations committed to reducing waste by recycling scrap filament—the plastic thread-like material used in 3D printing—and transforming it into usable material for future projects.

Partnering for a Greener Future

The Filament Recycling Collaborative is a joint venture involving local organizations including:

  • Metropolitan Community College (MCC)
  • Nebraska Innovation Studio
  • Made New Makerspace
  • Omaha Maker Group
  • Makeshift
  • Kiewit Luminarium

By combining resources and expertise, these partners are addressing the environmental challenges posed by filament waste in the 3D printing process.

Addressing the Plastic Pollution Crisis

Central to our mission is the recycling of scrap filament to tackle plastic pollution, a critical issue highlighted by Olivia Lai on Earth.org. Lai notes that “Plastic use and consumption have driven the world to generate approximately 400 million tonnes of plastic waste each year to keep up with demand, 60% of which ends up in our natural environment or landfills.”

Through this collaborative effort, we are collecting and consolidating scrap filament from our partners and sending it to a specialized recycling facility. There, it will be repurposed into high-quality filament, ready for future printing projects.

Leading the Initiative

Do Space and Kiewit Luminarium have already set a strong example by contributing a combined total of 20 pounds of filament to jumpstart the recycling process. This initial shipment shows our commitment to environmental stewardship and sets a positive precedent for future contributions.

Voices of Support

Michael Sauers, Technology Manager at Do Space, shared his enthusiasm for the initiative:

“At Do Space, we recognize the importance of sustainability in technology and innovation. By establishing the Filament Recycling Collaborative, we’re not only diverting waste from landfills but also building a culture of environmental responsibility within our community.”

Justin Alexander, Exhibit Technician at Kiewit Luminarium, echoed these sentiments:

“I believe the filament recycling program is important because as institutions with 3D printing capability, we have the opportunity to recycle as much waste as possible from our prints and prototypes. It’s important to be mindful when working with new technologies on what waste could end up in a landfill and to mitigate that as much as possible. I feel that as a collective, we are all of a similar mindset when working with these materials.”

Looking Ahead

As we continue to grow and develop the Filament Recycling Collaborative, we aim to expand our reach, engage additional partners, and further promote sustainable practices throughout Nebraska.

We invite any organization interested in joining this important cause to contact Michael Sauers at msauers@dospace.org for more information and to explore collaboration opportunities.

Together, we can make a significant impact on reducing plastic waste and fostering a sustainable future for the 3D printing community.

About Author
Rachel Drietz, Operations Manager