3D Print and Filament Recycling Collection at Printed Solid!

Printed Solid is pleased to announce that we will be piloting a program to accept scrap 3D Printing Materials including filament and scrap prints for recycling at our showroom at 2850 Ogletown Rd, Newark, DE during normal business hours 9am-5pm Monday - Friday. 

Here are some details:

  • In-Store only.  We will not be accepting mailed in scrap.  
  • Scrap filament and prints only. 
  • Spools can go into your regular recycling stream or be repurposed, so we will not be accepting them.  
  • You will get a 10% off in store filament purchases when you drop off recycling, and 15% off in store filament purchases if you've crushed and separated the material for us.
  • Printed Solid is not making filament out of this material.  The collected waste material will be sent to a nearby recycling facility that has streams set up for common 3D Printing materials.  

Want to know more about the program?  

3D Printing allows us to fabricate objects in a home or office environment with only a very small amount of waste generated.  Anyone who has operated a CNC router or laser cutter will easily be able to confirm that the percentage of material that goes into the finished object vs the amount that goes into scrap for those processes typically far exceeds 3D Printing.  

Failed 3D Print

3D Printers have gotten a lot better since this, but failed prints are an occasional fact of life.


However, we still do generate waste.  Some of the sources of waste that we produce with a standard single extrusion desktop 3D printer include:

  • Scraps from nozzle purge, skirt, brim, and raft  
  • Failed prints
  • Spools
  • Short lengths at the end of the spool that may be too short to use for anything else  
  • Entire prints that were used for prototypes in a development process that are simply no longer needed

With the exception of some spools, many of these items will not be processed by your local recycling center.  While ABS and PET are readily recyclable in most streams, there can be issues with identification of the material in some facilities (i.e. no triangle) or it may just not be able to make it through automated processing and ends up in their trash instead of yours.

To make matters a bit complicated, we have compostable / biodegradable plastics like PLA.  PLA is popular in 3D Printing as a more environmentally friendly alternative to things like ABS.  It doesn't have the harsh fumes, it is synthesized from renewable resources, and it will eventually (eventually being a rather subjective term) break down in a landfill.  The negative side of this is that PLA is not a particularly great material to recycle.  The molecular chains that make up the different polymers we use for filaments degrade during each melt cycle with some degrading more than others.  Those that degrade more, like PLA, are less useful as recycled material or require more effort to recycle.  (as an aside, inclusion of recycled material vs virgin is one of many things that do differentiate a premium grade and lower quality grade of filament)

Printed Solid has identified a regional recycling facility, Terracycle, that has identified recycling uses for the various 3D Printing materials, including PLA.  We look forward to working with them to provide our customers a location to drop their 3D Printed waste materials for recycling.


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