Watch: the Paper Pulp 3D printer recycling waste into models

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Beer Holthuis, a product designer and concept developer from the Netherlands, has created a 3D printer designed to recycle paper. Called the Paper Pulp Printer, Holthius system challenges the plastic-oriented production of other desktop systems, aiming for a more sustainable means of fabrication.

“There is a growing market for 3D printing on demand,” explains Holthuis, “The print material is almost always plastic, besides some expensive exceptions. I was surprised there are no real sustainable materials used in 3D printing. [This was] a great starting point for my challenge to create the world’s first paper pulp printer,”

The Paper Pulp 3D printer

According to Holthuis, 80 kg of paper per person is wasted every year. With an interest in sustainability and experience with materials such as wood, metal, plastic, textile, and ceramics, Holthuis developed a 3D printer to directly print waste, i.e. paper pulp. Fully recycled yogurt pots have also been used as a recyclable 3D printing material from Refil, a Netherlands based startup and design studio Better Future Factory 


The Paper Pulp 3D printer extrudes the paper waste with a natural binder, making 3D printed models “endlessly recyclable.” Holthuis added, “The design of the printed objects are using the possibilities and beauty of this technique. The tactile experience, bold lines and print speed results in distinctive shapes. The objects are also durable: Printed paper is surprisingly strong.”

“A paper revolution is coming! From both my interest in sustainability and fascination for tools and techniques grew the idea of a 3D printer to recycle paper.”

Paper and additive manufacturing

As well as its sustainable properties, paper has been proven applicable within the 3D printing industry.  Earlier this year, researchers at Carnegie Mellon University’s (CMU) Human-Computer Interaction Institute (HCII) and Morphing Matter Lab developed a method for adding new dimensions to paper. This method included 3D printing reversible actuators onto single layers of paper that bend, fold or flatten when an electrical current is applied.

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Featured image shows the Paper Pulp 3D Printer. Photo via Beer Holthuis.

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