CirKumat – return system for 3D filaments

Circular Economy
Interest in 3D-printing is growing among both companies and private individuals in Sweden. The most common material is different types of plastic, and when prints are made, however, there is waste in several forms. These is start-up waste, failed prints and prints you only want to use/display for a short time or that have expired.

Currently, there is no return system for this waste (it must not be thrown into the collection system for plastic packaging). It’s a shame because the plastic is of good quality and can be recycled into new filament, which would have a positive environmental benefit. Chalmers Industriteknik implements the Cirkumat project together with the filament manufacturer add:north. The overall goal of the project is to increase material recycling of filament waste in Sweden.

What are we doing to meet the challenge?

In the project, we have developed a collection system for 3D filament, where users, with the help of an existing forwarding system, send their waste back to the filament manufacturer, which in this case is the company add:north.

Add:north will then use the incoming material to manufacture new filament, which can then be offered to these customers as a new, sustainable product. This system differs from traditional collection systems for plastic waste which are often characterized by long chains with many actors and a need for large volumes. In this project, we have instead reversed the logic and designed a short chain inspired by return systems for e-commerce.

In order to develop a system that is user-friendly, environmentally friendly and cost-effective, in the project we have analyzed technical prerequisites for material recycling, business models, logistics systems, environmental impact, as well as driving forces and barriers for the system.

Project partners and financiers

The work is carried out within the Strategic Innovation Program Produktion2030, a joint venture of Vinnova, Formas and the Swedish Energy Agency.

 

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