Many environmental crises are arising as a result of the consumption of goods and services, resulting in a depletion of the Earth’s finite natural resources and causing irreversible damage to the environment, such as global warming, environmental pollution and decline in flora and fauna.
At CREATE Education, we recognise the important part of businesses in being held accountable, which is why, through our CREATE Ethos, we are committed to leaving behind a positive impact on the world.
So how are CREATE Education developing an awareness of and a responsibility towards sustainability and the environment? In this blog we highlight some of the ways we are working towards this.
Sustainability and 3D Printing
“3D printing is a fundamental building block of the ‘4th industrial revolution’ that has the potential to transform the way in which production and consumption are connected.”
CREATE Education Ambassador Professor Tim Minshall Head of the Institute for Manufacturing at the University of Cambridge.
3D printing technology is widely viewed as a more sustainable manufacturing method, due to the following reasons:
- It significantly reduces waste material, unlike traditional subtractive manufacturing methods, 3D printers only use a material that it requires to build each layer of the model, producing very little waste.
- 3D printing as a manufacturing process is capable of using recycled plastic materials. Also, many 3D printing filaments are produced from sustainably sourced biodegradable materials such as PLA which is derived from corn-starch.
- 3D printing allows for localised manufacturing and manufacturing of spare and replacement parts by the end-user, reducing the environmental impact of transportation of parts around the globe and allowing for consumer repair, re-use and upcycling of products.
CREATE Education aims to be sustainable suppliers of 3D Printing Hardware and Materials, here’s how:
- We only supply 3D printing hardware that is known for its robustness and reliability.
- We offer free lifetime technical support on all our hardware.
- We provide information and training in how to maintain the hardware and actively assist our education customers in repairing faulty or broken hardware to expand its life.
This not only protects our customers’ investment but also allows for hardware to last for many years, without requiring replacement.
- We supply and actively promote the use of biodegradable PLA filament for 3D printing which is derived from corn starch and much more environmentally friendly than traditional plastics.
- In particular, we supply and recommend to schools our Filamentive range of recycled PLA (and other plastic) filaments, which also come supplied on cardboard reels.
Education plays a crucial role in shaping the future of the environmental, social, political, economic, cultural landscape, by enabling students to become a part of the conversation. Through our work and support, we encourage and inspire the next generation to become a part of the solution.
Here are some examples of our education resources.
3D Printing the Weather Project
This engaging project, developed in collaboration with the Royal Meteorological Society, has been designed for ages 11 – 16 in geography and PSHE. The project uses data on average monthly temperature dating back from January 1659 to December 2018. Using the project resources and the Central England Temperature data, students make tactile, engaging 3D printed models of the data. The models in turn can be used to look at past weather and climate, and at how the climate of the UK has been changing over time.
The purpose of the project is to help students understand and explore the weather, climate, extreme weather and climate change in a visual way. This in turn encourages discussion and debate and empowers children to be a part of the solution.
How Sustainable is PLA? Resource
While 3D printing is fundamentally more sustainable than traditional subtractive manufacturing techniques, the use of plastic has the potential to exacerbate plastic pollution due to waste, support and failed prints. This resource, produced by our partners Filamentive, explored the credibility of four key environmental benefit claims surrounding PLA 3D printing filament.
With our aim to make cutting-edge technologies accessible to all, we partnered with The Rapid Foundation, whose goal is to use open-source technologies to solve problems and achieve UN sustainability goals. By equipping the Watamu Marine Association community with 3D Printing facilities and 3D skills, we have provided them with the ability to produce their own filaments from recycled marine waste. Opening up endless possibilities for locals to learn, profit and grow together.
Another outreach project supported by our community was the development and 3D printing of a “Mini Secchi” device. As part of an international scientific collaboration, REVIVAL with Plymouth Marine Laboratory, this 3D Printed device has enabled scientists to study and address water quality in a highly polluted lake. Tom Brewin CREATE Education Ambassador and Hub leader at Chatham & Clarendon Grammar School 3D printed and assembled 100 of these devices, which were sent to Kerala India, where they have been used to create marine optical data sets.
By supporting our education community in their endeavours by providing free 3D printer loans, materials, advice and expertise, we are able to further expand our efforts in developing awareness of sustainability and environmental issues. This includes key areas such as product design and fashion, inspiring the next generation of innovators and problem solvers.
One CREATE Education Ambassador, Handy Dan, has developed an innovative way to re-purpose 3D printing waste materials, preventing them from being sent to landfill, turning them into beautifully crafted and useful household objects.
Student CREATE Education Ambassador Jack Cockle set out to design a sustainable orthopaedic cast, with the aim to reduce inevitable waste generated, due to their single-use nature.
3D printing has also enabled Student CREATE Education Ambassador James to create fashion items that are entirely zero waste, something which is relatively unheard of in the fashion industry.