These days, 3D printers can create just about anything – from human organs to deadly weapons. But one innovation we haven’t previously seen in 3D printing? Printer filament made from of planet-friendly materials rather than Earth-damaging plastics. That’s changing however, with design firm Emerging Objects’ recycled and recyclable 3D printing materials. Using materials like salt, concrete, wood and paper, they are putting the green in 3D printing.

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Traditional 3D printing requires decidedly environmentally-unfriendly materials like thermoplastic and photopolymers. That’s a lot of plastic being produced and put out into the environment that isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. So Emerging Objects decided that it was time to find printing material that wouldn’t languish in a landfill.

The team, founded by Ronald Rael and Virginia San Fratello, has experimented with materials as basic as salt and as complicated as a concrete polymer that can create an object that is even stronger than traditional concrete. They’ve also created a printing material out of woods like recycled maple and architectural wood waste composite, and out of good old fashioned paper.

The result is printing technology that can create beautiful items out of green materials. The team can even produce printed objects out of wood that actually mimic the grain of traditional wood. The printed items are also incredibly strong and, perhaps best of all, the printing material is much more affordable than traditional plastics, which means that you can now have options when choosing your 3D printing materials.

+ Emerging Objects

via Tree Hugger