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Waste is a major problem in the construction industry. Various studies put the quantity of building materials that end up in a skip at anywhere between 20 per cent and 30 per cent – representing an enormous environmental and economic cost.

This is where Dutch firm Actual believes its bio plastic constructions can make a real difference. The firm uses large 3D printers to build complex and sophisticated designs, from floors to façades, stairs and even entire buildings. Besides using 3D printers to build the buildings, it’s the use of bio plastics which is especially innovative in terms of sustainability and waste reduction.

The firm says the bio plastics used by its 3D printers are made from 100 per cent renewable plant-based polymers, and can also deploy recycled plastics (it should be noted that producing bio-plastics still requires large-scale production of plants such as corn). What’s more, should the printer make a mistake, the plastic can simply be shredded and returned to the mix, resulting in building projects with no waste at all – in theory, at least