Back in 2015, Fargo, North Dakota-based company 3DomFuel, Inc. announced its environmentally friendly Eco-Spool, a 100% bio-based 3D printer filament spool made from bio-friendly materials that degrade in landfills much faster than petroleum-based spools . The next year, the company’s 3Dom USA and 3Dom Europe offices, in collaboration with another environmentally friendly AM filament manufacturer, 3D-Fuel, founded 3DomFuel to expand production capacity and develop new ideas for high-quality, sustainable materials, branded 3D-Fuel. Just in time for Earth Day, 3DomFuel has announced an improvement in the end-of-life options of its products through the Eco-Spool2, which is known as the “first improved biodegradable landfill coil”.
The Eco-Spool2 is made of recycled HIPS (High Impact Polystyrene), which can be recycled again, and is therefore marked with the recycling symbol “6”. 3DomFuel will use this new product on all 500g and 1kg spools at its US manufacturing facility and also plans to use the new spools at its facility in Ireland.
Since not everyone has access to recycling, 3DomFuel has developed the Eco-Spool2 for better biodegradability on landfills. Thanks to a newly purchased additive that we get in a minute, the Eco-Spool2 doesn’t require any special handling: you can just throw it in the trash, and biodegradability is actually improved once this Green Print Spool has been disposed of from in a biologically active landfill.
3DomFuel and Ecologic, LLC, manufacturer of the leading Eco-One technology for the plastics industry, have signed an exclusive agreement that enables the Eco-Spool2 to achieve this improved biodegradation process. A 100% organic, non-starch based additive, Eco-One uses a number of biological and chemical processes to improve biodegradation in a landfill and is used in several plastic products such as apparel, shoes, sporting goods, foam and packaging used medical hygiene basics and now 3D printing.
“Over 90% of plastics end up in landfills. With our new products with improved biodegradability, we can eliminate the 100 or 1000 years it takes to degrade them, ”3DomFuel wrote in a press release.
Once a plastic product made with Ecologic’s unique technology ends up in a biologically active landfill, the ingredients in Eco-One allow a coating or biofilm to form on the surface of the plastic. This biofilm is made up of microbes that invade the plastic material and the other ingredients in Eco-One work together to enlarge the molecular structure and make room for more microbes to move away from the site thanks to the chemical signals that the microbes present are sending out get dressed by. After all the necessary microbes are in place, they eat away at the polymer chains of the plastic, which accelerates the breakdown of the chemical bonds in the product.
Thanks to this exclusive agreement with Ecologic, 3DomFuel will be the first company to bring these new, environmentally friendly products to the market.
“Right from the start, 3D fuel products were meant to be more sustainable and we have continuously sought a way to produce 3D printing materials with minimal impact on our environment,” said John Schneider, CEO of 3DomFuel. “Ultimately, we have the ability to make products that are truly greener, with a range of end-of-life options, ease of use and high quality. We plan to improve biodegradability as an option for all of our products soon. We also encourage the entire 3D community to move in the same direction. “
3DomFuel now has the exclusive right to use the Eco-One additive in its 3D printing coils. This has been demonstrated by third party testing using the ASTM D5511 test method to improve biodegradation on biologically active landfills. But the company has even more exciting news: With this agreement, it also plans to develop a range of improved biodegradable PLA filaments for landfill with Eco-One.
We have seen before how 3D printer filament spools have been reused to make other items. This is definitely a more sustainable choice than some others. But I think it’s good that for this option we don’t have to do any extra work to help the planet. We can just throw the spool away once it’s empty and then get on with our day. green act.