If you know us you know we’re into sustainability and supporting local businesses almost as much as we’re into fermenting. When we were brainstorming tap handle ideas for our kombucha bar we came across a lot of DIY options made from wood and others you could customer order online, but for our tap room we wanted something different.
For this project we collaborated with Gamer Gadetry, a local 3D printing company in the Okanagan. They offer unique, well thought out, and dynamic creations while supporting local communities and businesses. Through 3D printing, we came up with precise, low waste solutions that gave us the detail we desired.
So what makes this sustainable?
3D printing is very specific. There is very little error in their printed products due to smaller scale production and specifically programmed prints. With less misprints, and more specific programs, less ends up in the landfill.
Gamer Gadgetry uses polylactic acid (PLA) as a great eco-friendly material for their printing. PLA is made exclusively from natural or recycled materials, such as corn starch and sugarcane instead of petroleum. This is the same type of plastic that’s often used to make biodegradable cups and is non-toxic. This type of plastic is a much more renewable base when you compare it to your typical oil/fossil fuel based plastics. As PLA is a hard plastic it can be quite durable - especially with 3D printing when supports and infill can be added to the design to further strengthen the final product. Gamer Gadgetry even doubles back on itself by printing out some of their own machine parts.
Benefits of PLA plastic over fossil fuel plastic
- Lower CO2 - PLA plastic has a lower CO2 footprint than fossil plastic. Because Gamer Gadgetry is a local company this helps reduce our footprint even more. There are no big deliveries, big distances to cover, or excess packaging.
- 100% plant-based, biodegradable and recyclable- because PLA is made from organic material they are biodegradable which is one of the materials biggest advantages. Bioplastics support a circular economy unlike items made with petroleum like typical plastic.
- Limited waste - traditional manufacturing produces a lot of waste. This comes from excess product, mistakes and misprints that all end up in the landfill. With 3D printing, the item is printed more precisely with smart technology that limits the amount of trimmings needed and reduces the amount of mistakes.
- Green energy - 3D printers run off of electricity which can be subsidized with renewable resources, such as solar. A small machine can produce a large volume.
We love working with 3D printed products because they are lightweight, durable and the best part is that if anything breaks, we can take it back to the shop and they will recycle the product there. The PLA can then be broken down and re-used for other products. It has almost a full life cycle of renewability. No landfill or long trip to be repurposed. The tap handles turned out so well that we used the same technique to print our flight trays.
As if these aren’t enough reasons to become a big fan of this type of 3D printing, one of the things we love most about Gamer Gadgetry is their passion for educating about 3D printing and the possibilities it offers. They are always looking for new ways to innovate, not only about their products, but finding new uses to make their products practical and sustainable. They strive to help local businesses and our community with their projects. We are super happy with the result and stoked for you to start seeing them at our stockists and in our tap room.