3D Printing & the Circular Economy
According to the report What a Waste 2.0, the world is on a trajectory where waste generation will drastically outpace population growth by more than double by 2050. Although we are seeing improvements and innovations in solid waste management globally, it is a complex issue and one that we need to take urgent action on. Solid waste management affects everyone; however, those most affected by the negative impacts of poorly managed waste are largely society’s most vulnerable—losing their lives and homes from landslides of waste dumps, working in unsafe waste-picking conditions, and suffering profound health repercussions.
The world generates 2.01 billion tonnes of municipal solid waste annually, with at least 33 percent of that—extremely conservatively—not managed in an environmentally safe manner. Worldwide, waste generated per person per day averages 0.74 kilogram but ranges widely, from 0.11 to 4.54 kilograms. Though they only account for 16 percent of the world’s population, high-income countries generate about 34 percent, or 683 million tonnes, of the world’s waste.
It is important to focus on 3D Printing and the additive manufacturing industry as a whole. This is the future of manufacturing in a sense. Major manufacturing companies are responsible for the majority of our waste production within the world. A major concern for companies is indeed the bottom line. But it can be argued by proponents of the circular economy that a company may gain more from altruistic behavior oriented towards the environment. Additive manufacturing is a process that already is minimizing waste compared to previous methods of production that large manufacturers are used to. What are companies and organizations doing worldwide for this?
3D printing and additive manufacturing methods help to minimize excess waste in production, but they are still operating within a linear mindset of production. This refers to how we create a product through design and then send it out for use by an individual. After this product has done its use it may then be terminated, and could lead to similar problems of previous manufacturing methods. It also may be worse as rapid creation of parts can lead to larger aggregates of waste overall in the future. 3D printing and additive manufacturing allow users and organizations to have localized production, This allows for better control over waste steams and for lower C02. Waste reduction occurs naturally as there is transparency with local production And quality control and quick turnover are also important considerations when using additive manufacturing as the basis of a circular economy. With 3D printing, in some cases, we can recycle a number of existing materials into 3D printed things.
More info: https://3dprint.com/245147/circular-economy-d/