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techfortrade launches new initiative for ethical 3D printing filament


Technology charity continues to drive the use of 3D printing for development with launch of The Ethical Filament Foundation calling for industry support in using recycled plastic filament.

London 3D Printshow – 7th November 2013 -- techfortrade today announces the launch of The Ethical Filament Foundation. The initiative will work in partnership with organisations around the world to set the benchmark for the manufacture of ethically produced 3D printing filament, made from recycled plastic waste.

With the growing global market for 3D printer filament, The Ethical Filament Foundation will ensure the availability of a recycled, ethical alternative to the standard virgin plastic variety. The initiative aims to both provide income stability for waste pickers in developing countries and to reduce the environmental impact by helping to cut levels of plastic waste.

The Ethical Filament Foundation is working on the development of a recognised standard and a global mark that will be licensed for use by partner organisations producing filament in accordance with its guidelines. A draft of these guidelines has been released for comment and review and is available via the Foundation’s website. 

This standard will ensure that social, economic and environmental requirements are met in the production of 3D printer filament. It is also hoped that this will contribute towards a general improvement in wider trading relationships with waste pickers by influencing plastic industry standards. The Ethical Filament Foundation mark will act as a quality guarantee for those companies and individual consumers wishing to purchase recycled filament.

The Ethical Filament Foundation has been founded by techfortrade in partnership with Dreambox Emergence which provides 3D printing units for community based manufacturing in Guatemala, and Michigan Technological University. The initiative has already attracted a high level of interest, with Protoprint, which provides waste plastic recycling services in India, signed up as the first licensed organisation.

“techfortrade believes in the transformational capabilities of 3D printing technology for developing nations, particularly since our 3D4D Challenge,” said William Hoyle, CEO of techfortrade. “After realising a gap in the market for 3D printer filament made from recycled plastic, we immediately recognised the opportunity this presents to the developing world where plastic waste is in abundance. The 3D printing market is growing exponentially and by making the first move into ethical filament, we hope to raise awareness about the importance of this technology and the benefits it can provide to some of the poorest people in the world. Our first step is to garner support from the 3D printing community.”

“The Ethical Filament Foundation is working not only to provide a sustainable form of income and independence to people in developing nations, but also to create a more environmentally sound range of 3D printer filament, at a time when the industry is booming. The decision to collaborate with techfortrade in this initiative was a no-brainer,” added Matt Hayto, co-founder of Dreambox Emergence.

techfortrade and The Ethical Filament Foundation are exhibiting at this year’s 3D Printshow in London, on the 7th November at the Business Design Centre London.

Anyone interested in getting involved with the Foundation, should get in contact via the details below.

About techfortrade
techfortrade is a UK charity which focuses on connecting developing nations with emerging technology in order to facilitate trade. It aims to improve the livelihoods of these communities in order to stimulate economic growth and alleviate poverty. techfortrade believes that by giving entrepreneurs in some of the world’s poorest countries access to technology, it can help them to find a solution to global poverty.

The charity directly supports game-changing projects and businesses that encourage international and domestic trade, boosting local businesses to produce jobs, raise incomes and to invest in the development of skills.

Through its work techfortrade also aims to foster further innovation and shared learning around sustainable and scalable technology solutions to help users trade out of poverty.
To find out more, go to

Join in the conversation
Twitter: @techfortrade

About The Ethical Filament Foundation
The first initiative of its kind, The Ethical Filament Foundation has been set up to ensure that social, economic and environmental requirements are met in the production of 3D printer filament. It will do this by building a recognised global standard and mark which will be licensed to organisations producing filament in accordance with its guidelines. The Ethical Filament Foundation’s founding members are technology and development charity techfortrade, manufacturing social enterprise Dreambox Emergence, and Michigan Technological University.


The Ethical Filament Foundation aims to:

  • Set the benchmark for the production of ethically produced 3D printer filament, made from recycled plastic.

  • Reduce the environmental impact of 3D printing by cutting the use of virgin plastic and by encouraging the use of recycled materials.

  • Provide a sustainable form of income for some of the poorest global communities.

  • Improve wider trading relationships with local communities in developing nations.

  • Encourage discussion and debate around the use of 3D printing technology to improve the lives of those in developing nations.

For more information, please visit:

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For more information or to get in contact with William Hoyle, CEO of techfortrade, please contact:
Hannah Devoy or Lisa Henshaw or Xanthe Vaughan Williams
Fourth Day PR
+44 (0)20 7403 4411
Hannah: 07794 741 739
Lisa: 07985 108 887
Xanthe: 07767 317 551