How can 3D printers help in energy conservation?

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A 3D printer and a 'RecycleBot' are all that one needs to turn waste plastic into 3D printer filament - at home. 

By turning plastic jugs into 3D printer filament, one can cover 99 percent cost of buying a new product and help save three percent less energy than what is required in conventional recycling process, a new study shows. A RecycleBot is a waste plastic extruder that creates 3-D printer filament from waste plastic and natural polymers.

"Energy savings skyrocket to 70-80 percent where even conventional recycling programmes are not ideal," said Joshua Pearce, associate professor at Michigan Technological University in the US. 

The researchers did a life-cycle analysis on a run-of-the-mill milk jug made from HDPE (high-density polyethylene) plastic. 

After cleaning it and cutting it in pieces, they ran it through an office shredder and a 'RecycleBot'. 

The researchers also compared the cost of making your own filament with buying it. 

"There's a clear incentive, even if you factor in the cost of buying the RecycleBot," Pearce said. IANS



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