After looking at both sides of the argument on whether 3-D printing is more or less environmentally friendly, I believe that if we use 3-D printing responsibly, it will be more environmentally friendly than traditional manufacturing methods.
3-D printing greatly reduces the amount of transportation pollution, which is extremely important considering, “[transport] is claimed to consume 60% of the world’s oil and produces a quarter of all energy-related CO2 emissions.” Having an accessible manufacturing tool would be helpful in reducing the amount of gas consumed and emissions released from transportation, especially since it’s one of the leading causes of climate change.
People may also argue that 3-D printing is not as efficient in using materials as it seems. They believe that 3-D printing uses more plastics and may even cause the population to have a reliance in plastic materials. However, most of the plastics that 3-D printers use are recycled materials. Many companies are also aware of how 3-D printers may waste materials and are actively developing ways to turn the wasted material back into 3-D printer “ink.”
3-D printing is also and indispensable tool to further the development of greener technology. Like the example above about 3-D print waste, companies, researchers, and individuals are aware and innovating ways to improve 3-D printing to make it more environmentally friendly and less wasteful. Some of the old manufacturing methods have been created from a past where global warming wasn’t a large issue, and does consider how it impacts the environment. 3-D printing is a great way for people to start thinking about new ways to manufacture objects with a smaller carbon footprint.
As said in a previous post, 3-D printing is also much more environmentally friendly because it reduces the amount of pollution caused by manufacturing. Although 3-D printing may release its own fumes, it is nothing compared to the amount of air pollution that we see coming from large factories. Since people may also argue that 3-D printing is usually done near homes or workplaces, we should make sure to keep 3-D printing safely controlled but accessible.
Controlled yet accessible is the key to making 3-D printing a successful and useful manufacturing tool. We can see that it has its faults such as releasing fumes near living spaces, but their harms can easily be controlled by taking safety precautions. Many people are also aware of these issues and are progressively creating and thinking of ways to make 3-D printing safer and more environmentally friendly.
3-D printing has its ups and downs, but it is a tool that we cannot afford to stop using. It has helped save peoples lives and improve their health, and we should continue researching ways that i can be used to treat patients. People may still argue that 3-D printing can be more harmful to the environment and to us, but that’s exactly why controlling and innovating ways to improve 3-D printing is extremely important.