Environmental mitigation thoughts

So I’ve seen threads on here and elsewhere about recycling filament. Well intentioned, but I remain agnostic on the practicalities.
However, I think we can all agree:

  1. the stuff is ridiculously over-packaged. I mean, are they selling 2 pounds of plastic, or proposing marriage? If I see a spool in a felt-lined walnut box with gold leaf, I will not be surprised.
  2. we can re-use the spools, like the beer store.

Why isn’t there a company with the wherewithal to put big spools in a dry room, and we show up with our empties for a refill?
Plus. In the wider GTA, a driver could hit 10-20 spots like convenience stores or gas stations, from Whitby to The Hammer every day, picking up empties dropping off refills. 24 hr turnaround.
Boom. No plastic wrap, no silica gel, no boxes. Just random spools wrapped up with your fresh dry squishables for what…half price?

Those boxes of ice outside the gas stations. But instead of cold, it’s dry. You punch in the code on your receipt, or you point your phone at it, and it spits out your order.

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I get what you’re saying about filament being apparently over packaged but I don’t think the (GTA) demand is there for simpler packaging that allow easy pick up and drop off without the expectation that spools will be mailed/couriered which requires the more substantial packaging.

When I go to Filaments.ca on Torbram to buy a couple of spools, I’m always the only customer there, the product isn’t on a shelf waiting to be picked up; they’re set up to sell filament, but it’s not a retail situation like you would have racks or displays of the stuff that you would pick up and bring to a counter. When I go to Sayal, they always have a pile, more or less literally, of picked over MG Chemicals boxes of PLA with some ABS mixed in there, usually with most of the filament being 3mm which tells me they don’t get a lot of customers looking for the stuff (Sayal is probably the worst place in the world to buy filament, but sometimes you just need a spool of something quickly). I haven’t been to the 3D Printing Canada store in Hamilton so I can’t comment on what it’s like in there - I have purchased filament from there online for delivery.

Maybe there are places that I don’t know about where people go to get filament cheaply and conveniently but I haven’t seen anywhere that people line up for it nor do anybody I know who works with 3D printers have a “got to” place to go to for buying filament, which would make simpler and less packaging more practical.

I would love to be able to just even return the empty spools to someone to re-use … even if I don’t get filament back on them.


You are making my point.
You buy online, so why not from a local.

Are there enough people running 3D printers to make it profitable?

I don’t know, but I would think if there was, then people would be doing it.

Then I think you’ve got an opportunity to show the people who are selling online with extra packaging wrong.

Good luck! I’ll be one of your first customers.

I buy from eurekatec. They at least pre covid took empties and I have bought from them and got filament on spools from various places. They once gave a small discount for emptys. I have a whole bin full for when they start again.

Ok! We have one guy. Plus me.
Seriously. If you think think the stuff in your recycle bin is going anywhere but a dirt nap, educate thyself.

Why did a bunch of seacans full of Canadian plastic end up in Asia, causing a diplomatic incident?
Because it’s worthless.
We have to keep it out of the government’s hands. They are not qualified to deal. They are dirt dumb.
Their solution to recycled waste plastic is to send it to a flood plain in Asia and cross their fingers. Fucking idiots.
We should be incinerating plastic here, with the best scrubbers we can buy.

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There are all sorts of methods to reprocess plastic materials but they never seem to get set up.

The idea of buying spoolless filament and putting it on your own reusable spool has been slowly taking off. Have to wait and see if it if it becomes the norm. As far as waste plastic that desktop printers produce that will be a problem but compared to other plastic waste it is almost negligible.

A few of the filament distribution places are starting to move to cardboard spools. It would be nice if they all move there.

personally I agree, they all should be cardboard However, as a problem from a retailer point of view packaging on cardboard rolls need to be more rigid as well, If you bend or break an edge of the spool you cannot use them on the edge style filament holders. you have to spool it from the middle.

It doesn’t happen a lot but plastic spools do get damaged in shipping, maybe 1 in 250 but cardboard ones get damaged more often maybe 1 in 50. Although as I type this quick solution would be to print a plastic oversert (opposite to an insert) that the rolls could pop into while printing on an edge style spool holder… maybe not such an issue. Thinking out loud as I type

My man, if not here, then where? The Golden Horseshoe is one of the richest dense-population centers on the planet.

As I said above, if you think it could be a successful business - go for it.

I know I would be a customer.

I know there is a delivery company that uses 7-11 as a pickup drop off location, Its kinda like handing the baton, driver 1 drives it part way, driver 2 takes it the rest of the way with a 7-11 in between.

With that being said that’s one company that is friendly to helping other companies. Wonder if it would be possible to make 7-11 a depot for material drop off?

Center pillars and a top and bottom cross piece with folded reinforced pressed cardboard pieces (like that gets used for small appliances) would probably prevent a lot of the damage. Depends on where it comes from though I guess. If it’s badly mishandled boxes not much will help heh.

I really try not to point fingers but CERTAIN shipping companies tend to use boxes for pitching practice and there is just no saving them

It is all a moot point. The world is full of waste plastic and the amount generated by us “at home” desk top printers is so small by comparison it is really meaningless. It would make better sense to implement a global plastic re-processing imitative where all waste/scrap plastic is recycled and send to be processed into raw materiel or fuel. It is quite doable now, the technology to do it is ready, it just needs to be done. Then you can send all your scrap plastic to a recycler and quit worrying about it.

Yes I know it isn’t likely to happen.

China, India for one. As far as population density goes both of them plus Brazil, Mexico, New York or London are much denser then the Golden Horseshoe. But as myke said lead the way. It might be a viable business opportunity.