PET bottles, old refrigerator insides and car dashboards are recycled into 3D printer ink
Although the 3D printing market is growing steadily worldwide, the cost of newly produced filament can be quite expensive. A Dutch design consultancy, Better Future Factory, came up with Refil, aiming to give a solution to this problem and in a sustainable way too. The Rotterdam-based company makes high-quality filament for 3D printers, which derives from plastic waste.
The idea started more than five years ago, when the team created -under the title Perpetual Plastic project - a machinery to wash, dry and turn plastic into a wire-like substance that could then be molded into other physical objects. The company collaborated then with TU Delft, running a workshop at the Lowlands festival where people washed their emptied beer cups and turned them to various festival souvenirs. Yet, experts of plastic were skeptical on whether plastic could be turned into other useful things on an industrial scale, mainly because of the debris that needed to be filtered out. Thanks to CEO’s Casper van der Meer stubbornness however, Refil was born two years ago.
Refil was launched in April of 2015 and is the first brand selling fully recycled 3D printer filament. They market two types: ABS filament made from old car dashboards and the inside of refrigerator doors and PET filament made from old PET bottles. Their quality is comparable to non-recycled filaments, as Refil works with partner companies that source plastic from different councils in the Netherlands to ensure that they produce a high-quality end product.