Plastic materials obtained from plants and biological sources are counted under the tag of bioplastics. For instance, Polylactic acid(PLA) is one of the finest example of bioplastics at certain usage.
PLA is biodegradable, compostable, and recyclable material which is being served as a filament in 3D printing for so long. Polylactic acid (PLA) is the most widespread filament material for 3D printing. According to a recent survey made, more than 95% printing companies use PLA for 3D printing.
Some 3D printing method users are reutilizing the left-over(waste) obtained from 3D printing by grinding unwanted pieces of 3D prints and implementing a desktop extruder to convert it back into filament. It has turned out to be an effective technique to recycle waste avoiding landfill and utilizing it for making bioplastics. It is not a cheap method but costs you hundreds of pounds. Biofilaments which are derivative of renewable energy resources such as fats and vegetable oils are also produced from bioplastics. We can produce these plastics from traditional microorganism-degraded plastics as well. The origin of this 3D filament is from corn starch. This background makes it odorless and less harmful as compared to other filaments.
Presence of excessive number of algae in fresh water bodies is generally a thread to our aquatic ecosystems. Therefore, a company from United States of America introduced a method of converting the toxicity of algae into a sustainable filament to be used in 3D printing. The recyclable materials for 3-dimensional print is composed of almost 80% PLA and 20% of algae.
Also, bioplastics obtained from algae are serving as a biodegradable filament which not only helps in 3D printing but alleviates water bodies that were already facing issues of excessive algal blooms. Adding to these benefits, filaments obtained from algae usually take in less energy as compared to the traditional filament used for 3D printing as they can be treated at low temperature.
Though bioplastics constitute less than 1% of total plastic production all around the globe. Nevertheless, bioplastics are gaining importance because of their sustainable and biodegradable functionality and are being used for the purpose of printing worldwide. Overall, the market for bioplastic material is emerging fast than usual and its all because of its proper utilization in 3D printing.
Bioplastic is an example of biodegradable plastic and the use of bioplastics in 3D printing is revealed as an important step towards sustainable production. Benefits of using bioplastics in 3D printing include efficient use of raw resources, fewer assembly parts, lower emissions of transport from materials that are manufactured closer to production point. It allows the production of goods on request and the optimization and customization of parts to increase performance.