Last week, I mentioned that a Canadian company, Printearth, is working on developing biodegradable filaments. Apparently, they are not alone. The Italian Institute of Technology is working to create food-based filaments from spinach, cocoa and rice. Personally, I'm not sure I prefer this approach over recycling plastic. Given the world's food shortages, diverting edibles, unless they are rotten, to make filament seems wasteful.
Inside 3DP recently highlighted companies that use plastic discards for filament production. Two of these socially responsible companies, ProtoPrint and The Plastic Bank, reportedly even hire unemployed locals to retrieve and sort the plastic they use. Taking this idea a step further, a start up is now touting its 3D Re-printer which is designed to first convert plastic waste into a powder that is then used to print, theoretically eliminating the need to purchase filament while being more environmentally friendly.