I see mixed terms such as 'rPLA, Recycled PLA, Recycled rPLA' used by different filament producers without a clear explanation or a standard definition.

Does it all mean Recycled PLA, or is rPLA a different material?


1 Answer 1


All brands and shops that I know of use rPLA name for recycled PLA. However, this is neither a chemical name abbreviation, like PLA, nor a naming standard that's enforced by any agency. Thus, every time you want to buy rPLA, you must check if it really means recycled PLA. Because it can mean something else and manufacturer won't break any laws by doing it.

Hopefully the name will solidify soon, and anyone who sells anything but recycled PLA as rPLA will risk getting sued for false advertising. But we'll have to wait for that.

Be aware that "up to 100% recycled material" means any non-zero number equal or lower than 100%. So 1% of recycled materials meets this declaration as well as 90%. Only when manufacturer gives straight number, or "at least" number, we can be sure that amount of recycled material is what we expect it to.

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    $\begingroup$ Great answer; once it does, I hope there is also a minimum percentage recycled requirement. My supplier claims 95% recycled, but I see some suppliers claiming as high as 100%, which seems unlikely. $\endgroup$
    – Bob Ortiz
    Dec 5, 2023 at 7:51
  • $\begingroup$ @BobOrtiz "up to 100%" means any non-zero number equal or lower than 100% $\endgroup$
    – Mołot
    Dec 5, 2023 at 8:14
  • $\begingroup$ You're right that some do this. "Up to" should be illegal, in my opinion, in most sales and marketing contexts. Language needs to be specific and clear in this case. The suppliers I encountered always stated "minimal 95%", ">95%" or ">=95%". $\endgroup$
    – Bob Ortiz
    Dec 5, 2023 at 8:59
  • $\begingroup$ Another question about this would be about the term 'industrial waste'. Even if a minimum or "at least" number is available, what is the definition of 'industrial waste' and where did that 'waste' come from? If the production methods are purposefully 'wasting' a lot of filament, it's also easy to have 'min. 95% recycled'. My supplier doesn't even have a recycling program for me to send it back and the options for that are still very limited or expensive in the EU. So, even 'minimal 99% recycled from industrial waste' raises some questions. $\endgroup$
    – Bob Ortiz
    Dec 5, 2023 at 9:14
  • $\begingroup$ PLA is produced for other uses than 3D printing, and plants using such material usually produce sprues and such as waste. $\endgroup$
    – Trish
    Dec 6, 2023 at 8:37

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