“The reasons plastics are a problem is because nature hasn’t evolved to handle human-made chemicals,” Andre Simpson, a professor at University of Toronto Scarborough’s Department of Physical and Environmental Sciences tells 3D Printing Media. “Because we’re using what is essentially a natural product—in this case fats from cooking oil—nature can deal with it much better.”
The idea came after Simpson and his team noticed molecular similarities between commercial resins and those found in cooking oils.
The team developed a one-step process and converted 1 liter of used fryer oil into 420 mL of resin. They then used the resin to print a 3D butterfly with good resolution. When buried, the material is quickly broken down in soil.