Skip to content


The Big Difference (and Small Footprint) of Bioplastics - 3D-Fuel

The Big Difference (and Small Footprint) of Bioplastics

Sustainability is a key part of what we do at 3D-Fuel.

We firmly believe that we have a responsibility to ensure the products we create have as minimal environmental impact as possible. Whether that be reducing the amount of waste our production facilities produce or simply recycling in our break room, we’re committed to lessening our footprint at each step.


There are multiple ways that we reduce our environmental impact. One is by using biomass infill in filaments such as hemp in our popular Entwined™ filament line. Another is by using bioplastics such NatureWorks Ingeo PLA resins. To show our commitment, all PLA filaments produced by 3D-Fuel begin their life as this NatureWorks resin.

Some, however, are quick to judge and assume that bioplastics are no better than traditional petroleum-based plastics. That simply couldn’t be further from the truth.

Bioplastics have a lower carbon footprint than traditional plastic resins. Traditional plastic resins are made from non-renewable petroleum resources that emit additional carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere at the end of its lifecycle. Bioplastic feedstock crops such as corn, on the other hand, capture atmospheric CO2 during their growing phase instead of releasing it.

Land use is also something that often gets brought up in discussions regarding bioplastic. The reality is stark, though, and the amount of land used for crops destined to become bioplastic is tiny compared to other land uses. In 2020, approximately 0.05% of the world’s arable farm land was used for crops that would eventually be turned into bioplastic feedstock. That is expected to grow to less than 0.08% of global farmland by 2025.  

In addition to bioplastics, 3D-Fuel reuses its own out-of-specification filament. Our filament is produced to exacting standards, but occasionally a batch doesn’t meet our strict standards for any number of reasons. It could be something as simple as spools that get tangled during the production process. 

Instead of heading for the landfill, this otherwise usable filament is instead ground into pellets and reprocessed back into our popular ReFuel™ filament. While you can’t choose the color of ReFuel™, its uniqueness ends up being part of its appeal. 

We continue to look at new ways to increase our sustainability including new packaging, spool designs, and processes. Know that when you buy a spool of filament from 3D-Fuel, you are doing your part to create sustainability in the world and for 3D printing.


Previous article 3D-Fuel Adds 4 New Colors to Pro PLA Filament Lineup
Next article Standard, Workday and Pro PLA - Which is best for me?


Drew - July 25, 2023

A recycling program would be cool, send empty spools and filament scraps back? Failed prints?

Steve Okay - July 25, 2023

Oh, yes please. I would love to be able to send back empty spools as well. I’m a huge Re-Fuel user for my robotics prototyping and always feel bad about having to try toss the empty spools.

Donald Laird - September 25, 2021

Is there any reason why the spools are not made of the reject PLA?

Dirk - 3D-Fuel - September 17, 2021

We are looking at new spool designs that will both reduce the amount of plastic we use. Today our spools are made of recycled high-impact polystyrene (HIPS). We are also testing using filament refills on the existing spool and on a new design.

Espressobot - September 17, 2021

Can you also talk about what your spools are made of ?
I’m a frequent customer/buyer, esp. for the Refuel, but always feel a bit guilty when I have to toss out another 200g of plastic in the form of an empty spool(You can only make so many parts trays out of leftover spools).
Some filament companies are using cardboard spools, others have jumped on the Masterspool train, I’m wondering what your thoughts are on this ?

Peter B Ruckelshaus - September 17, 2021

I’d love to be able to send my filament spools back for re-use.

Leave a comment

Comments must be approved before appearing

* Required fields