A 3D printer lays down used coffee grounds to make a flower pot

© University of Colorado / Michael Rivera

Printed Technology

3D Printing with Used Coffee Grounds to Reduce Waste & Help Eliminate Plastic

In a novel initiative led by Michael Rivera, an Assistant Professor at the ATLAS Institute and the Department of Computer Science at the University of Colorado Boulder, researchers are working on leveraging coffee grounds to reduce waste in 3D printing. Rivera and his team have devised a method for 3D printing various objects using a paste comprising recycled coffee grounds, water, and other sustainable components. The project is perceived as an initial step towards the exploration of alternative eco-friendly 3D printing materials, which could potentially replace conventional plastics. Rivera expounded that the majority of consumer 3D printers in today’s market utilize thermoplastics, with polylactic acid (PLA) being the most prevalent. While PLA is theoretically compostable, only a limited number of composting facilities accept it. “If …

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