Is ABS Recyclable?
With failed prints, support structures, and prototypes, a 3d printing workspace can generate lots of waste plastic. 3d printing is typically more environmentally friendly, due to less waste material, lower transportation costs, and on-demand prints. But to make your 3d prints greener, how should you handle your extra print material?
ABS plastic, one of the standard materials used in 3d printing, is recyclable. Not every recycling company has the equipment yet to sort and chip ABS. Most metropolitan recycling companies can handle ABS plastic. If your recycling company has single-stream, then you can put support structures and trash prints in with your bottles and cans. If your recycling company supports ABS and requires sorting, your ABS plastic should typically be placed in the bin marked “Other”, so it doesn’t get mixed in with other plastics by mistake.
Another possibility is to recycle your 3d prints into more 3d printing filament with the filabot or filastruder. If you don’t have the money or time to shell out on the system, check with your local maker spaces to see if they have one, or know someone that does.
So if you have a lot of extra ABS you want to dispose, make a quick call to your local recycling company and ask if they allow ABS plastic. Your extra plastic can be recycled into new cell phones, injection molded parts, or if you’re lucky, it may have a second life as lego blocks.