3D printing - the future of sustainability

EHL Students - Bachelor | 12 Jan, 2016

The deterioration of our environment is becoming less of a catastrophic and futuristic theory and more of a reality; and one of the biggest threats to our planet is considered to be the amount of waste we produce and the way we deal with it.

According to the World Bank Group, global solid waste is on pace to rise to 6 million tons per day with a global cost increasing to $375 billion per year. And the future doesn’t seem very promising for the hospitality industry either.

Despite having implemented environmental policies within their strategy, hotel companies still do not consider sustainability as a business imperative. However, with a production of more than 4 million tons of trash every year, it is time for those organizations to engage in more technological approaches to deal with this enormous amount of waste in a quick and effective manner.

Among emerging technologies that have already been implemented in other industries, 3D printing is certainly the one to look out for.

Also known as additive manufacturing, this process allows everyone to make three dimensional solid objects from a digital file. In fact, a 3D printer can create the most various items by laying down several layers of materials.

When it first entered the technological market in the 1990’s, 3D printing was only popular among engineers, architects and manufacturer. Thirty years later, it is transforming every major industry.

Are you asking yourself how can 3D printing help the hospitality industry becoming more eco-friendly?

Simple!

By using post-consumer waste instead of typical 3D printing materials, this technology could turn hotels’ waste into amenities, fixtures and furniture to be used within the hotel itself, reducing not only their environmental impact but also the costs involved with running the property.

Companies such as Innocircle and 3D Systems are already working with recycled materials such as plastic, metal and paper but at the pace at which this technology is evolving we will soon be able to use many more in the short run.

And big brands like The Coca-Cola Company and celebrities like will.i.am have already teamed up to promote the idea.

Sustainability has to be quickly addressed by organizations which should completely reshape corporate culture based on this issue. And waste reduction should be the key factor to consider when initiating an environmental friendly strategy.

3D printing could represent a huge opportunity for hotel companies as it will allow them not only to recycle waste disposal but also to reusing it within the premises, reducing enormously the industry environmental impact.

Author: Paola Bellia - EHL Bachelor Student 

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