What it's made from now is about where it came from and where it's going.
The Baleen is composed of two parts. The translucent shade and a second small element that connects the shade to the LED module. The shade element of the Baleen is 3D printed from recycled PET made by the conscionable folks at Reflow Filaments in Amsterdam. The amount of recycled material used in the product is approximately equivalent to 35 post consumer recycled plastic bottles. The opaque black LED module connection piece is 3D printed from a carbon fiber infused PLA from Proto-Pasta in the USA. PLA is non-toxic biodegradable polymer made from plant starch. At Cyrc we want to use to recycled plastics as much as possible to give a material that has already been produced a longer life as a new durable product and then make sure it gets recycled into a new product at the end of that life. Unfortunately, we haven't yet found a recycled source of PLA filament for 3D printing that matches the beauty of the virgin PLA filament used in this product. It was a tough call to make, but we're working on a solution.
Please let us know when our product is at the end of it's days with you and we will direct you towards local recycling or returning the product back to us to be re-manufactured. Our goal is always to keep this beautiful technical nutrient in a circular economy.
More detailed information on the plastics is below.
PLA (polylactic acid)
PLA is amazing. It's commonly used in 3D printing because of its excellent extrusion properties. It's even used in medical implants because it's non-toxic and gradually dissolves in the body. It's made from renewable plant-based sources such as corn starch, cassava roots, or sugarcane. Although technically biodegradable*, it's not going away too easily. It needs industrial composting to completely break down into innocuous lactic acid. In a landfill, it's expected to hang around for a few hundred years, but during that time it won't leach any toxins into the land, unlike other plastics. PLA is durable and valuable material that is easy to recycle. A dirt nap should always be a last resort.
We know PET all too well. It's what most of those plastic bottles and synthetic garments are made from. PET is a popular plastic for single-use goods and its ubiquity as garbage across the planet is now widely seen a catastrophe. In a landfill, it takes at least 500 years to decompose. That being said, it's a wonder material. Its durability is outstanding and it's easy to recycle.