Disposing PLA and ABS 3D prints
December 08, 2013 01:18AM
So I have a bunch of PLA plastic and some wasted prints and can't figure out how to dispose them beside the trash bin. I can't reuse them for lack of fund to make a homemade grinder/extruder until then. Any rules on disposing PLA. The same goes for ABS and other plastics, but PLA is kind of tricky to me because I can't tell if I should putting in the recycling bin or the green bin for yard wastes.
A2
Re: Disposing PLA and ABS 3D prints
December 08, 2013 09:33AM
Don't put any biodegradable material into the recycle stream.
Best to save it up and donate it to some one near you that has an extruder.
Baring that, put it into the trash, because who knows what other chemical additives the manufacture blended into it.
I wouldn't want it in my garden.
Re: Disposing PLA and ABS 3D prints
December 08, 2013 12:51PM
Throwing all this plastic in the trash would really be a waste. With the right equipment you can turn it back into filament ready to print, and get your own small filament factory at the same time. ABS pellet sells for about 3 $ a Kg, so you can save a lot this way. FilaMaker is planing to offer an extruder on indiegogo with an included shredder, for those that already have an extruder or can't wait, he also sell the shredders alone. He as no web site right now, but apparently its coming as well. For know here is a few link about it.

[www.facebook.com]
[twitter.com]
[www.thingiverse.com]
[issuu.com]
Re: Disposing PLA and ABS 3D prints
December 08, 2013 01:16PM
I've been wondering the same thing. ABS is recyclable, but since our parts don't have the recycling logo imprinted on them... I thought of putting my wasted prints in a clear plastic bag with a label identifying its content as ABS, but I fear it would end up in the trash anyway...
Re: Disposing PLA and ABS 3D prints
December 08, 2013 01:57PM
Might be a good idea to put the code on your designs next time... Or maybe you could print the code on a thin piece of plastic to glue on your parts after you print them.

[www.thingiverse.com]
[en.wikipedia.org]
Re: Disposing PLA and ABS 3D prints
December 08, 2013 02:00PM
IIRC RichRap posted instructions on Thingiverse on how to create the recycling symbol using Inkscape. I just never think of it when making parts... And it can be some hassle to add it to downloaded parts.
Re: Disposing PLA and ABS 3D prints
December 08, 2013 02:02PM
Oh, and PLA can be recycled as well.. spinning smiley sticking its tongue out

[www.youtube.com]
A2
Re: Disposing PLA and ABS 3D prints
December 08, 2013 09:35PM
Quote
swe3tdave
Oh, and PLA can be recycled as well.

No PLA can not be placed into a civic recycling stream.
That video only shows how to reprocess PLA at home with equipment that the OP does not have.

Don't recycle PLA using a public recycling program, unless they have a system in place to manage it.

And if your PLA comes from China I would not put it in your garden, as it could have nasty chemicals blended with it.
Re: Disposing PLA and ABS 3D prints
December 08, 2013 11:30PM
Quote
A2
No PLA can not be placed into a civic recycling stream.

i didn't know that so i did a little search,

i understand that not everyone have the space needed for a filament extruder and shredder, but since you can't put PLA into the recycling bin, you're better off buying ABS instead.

In the long run, even if ABS is made from petrolium based product it might have a lower Life Cycle Inventory(LCI) than PLA. There is a study here [www.sustainabilityconsortium.org] about it. It seems that the LCI of PLA is lower, but it is still too close to ABS. If you take into account that PLA is more likely to end up in a landfill than ABS, the environmental benefits of PLA breaks up. You need to take into account the release of methane of PLA in landfills. So if you dont recycle PLA yourself, or if your prints gets out of your hands, you should probably buy ABS.

There are companies that do recycle PLA thought. I guess that its possible that some cities out there might have a program that do accept PLA. I guess it all goes down to how close the recycler is from you.
A2
Re: Disposing PLA and ABS 3D prints
December 09, 2013 02:35AM
Landfills:
The last thing you want in a landfill are materials that decompose.

Decomposition and the reaction with other decomposing materials produces other toxic waste.
Secondary chemical reactions, which can be more toxic than the base material, do escape into the atmosphere,
and/or leak into the ground water, if the landfill containment system breaches.

The purpose of a landfill is to contain.
That is why some cities have a separate containers for compost, recyclable materials, and restrictions of biodegradable plastics.
Landfills don't want to store decomposing materials, because it's not designed to be a biological reactor, as it's bad for the environment.

FYI: If I recall correctly? the three materials that utilize the least amount of energy to recycle are:
Plastic
Glass
Steel

Food Plastics and Fuel:
I have read that the use of plant derived fuel, and plastics diverts farm land from food production to product production.
It is driven by higher profit margins than food, and government subsidies.
The paper that I read was from a few years ago by a group of academic scientist, their forecast was grim.
Their forecast indicated that there will be mass starvation/death because of the amount of farm land that is being diverted for fuel and plastic products.

Google is a thing if you're interested in learning more.

PLA might sound good, but it's devilish on many levels....
Re: Disposing PLA and ABS 3D prints
December 09, 2013 05:11PM
Quote
swe3tdave
Might be a good idea to put the code on your designs next time... Or maybe you could print the code on a thin piece of plastic to glue on your parts after you print them.

[www.thingiverse.com]
[en.wikipedia.org]

Funnily enough I've thought of the same thing befor but more as a joke. I'm not totally sure many recyclers would actually bother with something which looks like an odd 3D printed part. They'd probably just go WTF and throw it away. (I suspect many won't even see the number.)

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/09/2013 05:12PM by Nil Einne.
Re: Disposing PLA and ABS 3D prints
December 09, 2013 10:13PM
Our local city recycling sorts out water bottles, milk just and other "known" types of plastic, then everything else goes into a mix that is sold to make simple thinks like floor mats, flower pots and stuff where plastic type is not a major issue, they either heat it just to soften it then press it into molds with high pressure or some use it as filler mixed in with resins and poured into molds. Both of these methods allow the recycling of "unknown" plastics.

Trust me they don't look at each item to see if it has a ID symbol on it then separate accordingly. They just use known standards for the mass produces containers like water bottles and milk jugs, maybe also things like big red Tide detergent bottles.
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