At 3D Print Cheshire we take the environmental impact of our business very seriously. Printing plastics may seem a very un-ecofriendly business but we try to minimise this by doing multiple things.
1.) Our business runs off PV Solar.
3D Printing uses quote a lot of energy to heat the print bed of each printer to 60-90 degrees and the extruder to over 220 degrees. Because of this we decided to invest in a solar system. We estimate that 90% of the energy that our printers use comes from solar. (It also helps with our electricity bill)
See here for more information and some pictures of what we use
2.) We use PLA plastics where we can, PLA Polylactic acid or polyactide (PLA) is a biodegradable and bioactive polyester made up of lactic acid building blocks. It is biodegradable, recyclable. This is our default material that we print with but we are now experimenting with Recycled PETG as well. Our MSLA resin printers use water washable resin so we don’t have to use harmful chemicals to wash the parts after manufacture.
3.) We are able to make spare parts for devices and machinery that would otherwise be sent to landfill. As an example we have produced a small replacement switch that weighs 20grams so save replacing a large £600 part for a printer.
4.) We are local so there is no need to transport products overseas. We are based in Macclesfield and have a fairly local customer base so we are able to deliver locally.
5.) We use the heat from our printers to help heat our office space. When you have a number of printers running that have a 220mm square heat bed at 60-90 degrees it acts like a number of small radiators. Printing is sensitive to the cold so we have also made sure that the office is well insulated as well.
6.) We recycle our shipping boxes where we can, we do get quite a lot of deliveries of materials and parts with packing so we always store this ready for shipping or delivery to save using brand new boxes where we can, so don’t be surprised to see an second hand amazon box or shoe box. We always make sure that the parts are still safe and usually deliver ourselves so we can take good care of your orders, unlike some carriers that may put your delivery at the bottom of a pile of other boxes.