Filaret is Recycling Cigarette Butts Into 3D Printing Filaments

Published on October 14, 2022 by Madeleine P.

fiFilaret, an Estonian startup that makes sustainable 3D printing materials, is working with the Estonian government to turn cigarettes discarded on the country’s beaches into filament. According to local authorities in Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, cigarette butts are one of the most common types of waste in the Baltic Sea. Since one cigarette butt can pollute up to 1,000 liters of water, the sea is filled with toxic and non-biodegradable products. Additionally, cigarette filters can release toxins which persist for 10 years, posing an event greater threat to the marine environment.

To combat this threat to marine biodiversity, specially designed garbage cans for cigarette butts will be installed along some of Tallinn’s beaches. This month, about twenty bins will be placed in three specific locations, the beaches of Stroomi and Pikakari as well as the quay of Katariina. The authorities encourage the public to throw away their cigarettes and avoid polluting their beach. This project will last for 2 months. At the end of the project, Filaret will empty these garbage cans, and then convert all the collected waste into a new compostable and environmentally friendly 3D printing material.


These bins will be placed in several beaches of Tallinn (photo credits: FIlaret)

Filaret Seeks to Disrupt the 3D Printing Material Industry

For the moment, no information has been given on the manufacturing process of these filament butts. Also, it is not known whether the final material will be suitable for prototyping or production purposes. However, Filaret says it has set the bar high, claiming that it will represent a new standard of innovative material, capable of “disrupting the 3D printing industry.” The company is supported by a number of organizations, including Tallinn University of Technology and the startup incubator Tehnopol. In fact, the latter has shown its support with financial assistance of up to €10,000, as well as mentoring to help turn ideas that can improve “the health of the planet” into reality. More information HERE.

Filaret is not the first startup to recover waste to make materials for 3D printing. Indeed, the Basque company 3DKala has launched a project to reduce the impact of cigarette butts on the environment. Specifically, the company wants to develop a process for recycling cigarette butts and turning them into 3D printing filaments or insulation for construction. On another note, last March, UBQ Materials won a South Award at Southwest 2022 for its waste-based 3D printing filament.

What do you think about using additive manufacturing to turn waste into 3D printing material? Let us know in a comment below or on our LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter pages! Don’t forget to sign up for our free weekly Newsletter here, the latest 3D printing news straight to your inbox! You can also find all our videos on our YouTube channel.

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