Last week we posted our thoughts on Gartner's Nick Jones' article suggesting that 3D printers might be banned in the future as they might overflow our streets with discarded plastic items. We don't think the world will look like a McDonalds Happy Meal Toy graveyard anytime soon, and apparently neither does anyone else, either.
Followup articles quickly appeared at Ponoko and Erik de Bruijn's blog, where the comments flew in definite disagreement. Many commenters cited exploratory work on biodegradable materials, but also the notion that residential or even distributed 3D printing would save significant amounts of carbon due to avoidance of object shipment. It's even possible to run our home fabber using wind/solar/geothermal power. One commenter asked:
The question is should I be getting carbon credits for using a reprap in my direct recycling efforts?
We think 3D printing can be an environmentally friendly method of manufacturing, if done right. The commenters and thousands of others working on the problem are going to make certain it is.