Following the rapid rise of distributed additive manufacturing with 3-D printing has come the technical development of filament extruders and recyclebots, which can turn both virgin polymer pellets and post-consumer shredded plastic into 3-D filament. Similar to the solutions proposed for other forms of ethical manufacturing, it is possible to consider a form of ethical 3-D printer filament distribution being developed. There is a market opportunity for producing this ethical 3-D printer filament, which is addressed in this paper by developing an “ethical product standard” for 3-D filament based upon a combination of existing fair-trade standards and technical and life cycle analysis of recycled filament production and 3-D printing manufacturing. These standards apply to businesses that can enable the economic development of waste pickers and include i) minimum pricing, ii) fair trade premium, iii) labor standards, iv) environmental and technical standards, v) health and safety standards, and vi) social standards including those that cover discrimination, harassment, freedom of association, collective bargaining and discipline.
Feeley, Savanna R., Wijnen, Bas, & Pearce, Joshua M. (2014). Evaluation of potential fair trade standards for an ethical 3-D printing filament. Journal of Sustainable Development, 7(5), 1-12. http://digitalcommons.mtu.edu/materials_fp/2