KML Royal Dutch Airlines cutting down its waste with 3D printing.

The KLM Royal Dutch Airlines have started a new initiative to reduce its impact on the environment and to lower engineering and maintenance costs. KLM is recycling the plastic bottles for the flights and using them to 3D print equipment.

Ton Dortmans, Executive Vice President Engineering & Maintenance (E&M), KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, explained, “We are continuously investing in sustainable and innovative products and processes.” Continuing, “For our customers, for society, and for our own employees. It’s terrific to see how we are able to make useful products from waste material.”

Some items include a covering for rim holes, so they aren’t covered up during painting of a Boeing737.  They have also developed a covering that helps remove overhead baggage bins allowing the job to be done by one mechanic instead of two. These developments have helped KLM speed up it’s repair and maintenance times.

A small video showing their process can be seen here.

KLM takes the collected waste to  Morssinkhof Rymoplast, a Dutch recycling company, and has it turned into high quality plastic pellets. The pellets are then turned into filament by Reflow. Previously the airline would buy PET filament for the E&M department, now with the recycling of plastic bottles they create there own lowering the cost from €60/kg to just €17/kg. The price isn’t the only thing dropping though, KLM’s volume of waste has been reduced with a goal of 50% by 2030.

Outside of the E&M department, KLM partnered with Local Makers to create custom, miniature 3D printed houses given as gifts of its business class customers.


Vialva, Tia, et al. “KLM Royal Dutch Airlines Recycles Water Bottles to Make 3D Printed Tools.” 3D Printing Industry, 23 Oct. 2019,