Protoprint is a Social Enterprise based in Pune, India that empowers urban waste pickers with the technology to ethically produce fair trade 3D printer filament from the waste plastic they collect. We market the filament globally, providing consumers with a price competitive, ethically sourced, recycled alternative to virgin plastic.
In addition to the sale of our filament, we work with organizations and institutions in India to set up affordable 3D printing facilities for their students and professionals. See our Products and Services page for more information.
In March 2012, Protoprint began developing an ethical, fair trade filament process that empowered waste pickers in India. In collaboration with our pilot partner SWaCH (a local wastepickers co-operative) we have developed a low-cost, scalable process to produce recycled HDPE printer filament from waste collected on the ground.
The idea began as a project when we recognized a gap in the 3D filament market for a recycled filament offering. The filament on the market largely consists of virgin PLA and ABS plastic, only adding to the already rampant plastics problem we face. Protoprint Fair Trade Filament is pioneering the concept of an environmentally friendly, ethical filament offering. We began pilot filament production in December 2013 and are currently in the late stages of testing. After proving the concept, we worked with a UK charity to form an 'Ethical Filament Standard' to propogate the Fair Trade Filament process. We're still ironing out the kinks and will begin filament distribution in mid 2015.
Protoprint is committed to open source development and we've assisted other organizations interested in implementing similar solutions since our inception. Contact us if you're interested in our work!