Precious Plastic is an innovative project by the dutch designer Dave Hakkens. The aim of the project is to clean up the planet, improve living conditions and the ability to create financial value by recycling plastic. Therefor he provides the necessary information on his websites so you can create your own plastic recycling machines and transform your plastic waste into new valuable things and design objects no matter where you live.
Plastic Production and its Problems
Since 1950, there is a massive and steadily growing use of plastic. And explaining the popularity of plastic isn’t that hard. The production costs are quite low, it doesn’t weigh too much, it’s incredibly stable and the possibilities of using it are kind of endless. From wrapping food to building airplanes, plastic can be found everywhere and the production numbers mirror this. In 2015, 322 million tons of plastic where produced worldwide and in Europe only about 20% of the plastic is recycled.
So, all the positive aspects of plastic come with a price. Plastic isn’t biodegradable. And more than a third of the produced plastic is wrapping material, which will be disposed pretty fast. And in too many cases it won’t be disposed correctly and will end up in our nature and our oceans, where it threatens all kind of ecosystems and species. Every year, approximately 8 million tons of plastic terminate in the oceans, and it is assumed that in 2050 this could result in more pieces of plastic than fish.
Knowing all this, and that recycling machines are quite complex and only usable in the industry, Dave Hakkens decided to design a plastic recycling machine for home as a graduation project. Once he had it working, he shared the blueprints online and found people who helped him to improve his machines and create a better version of it. For creating them, they tried to use materials that can be found all over the world, so you are able to build them, no matter where on our planet you live. They also experimented with different materials and collected all the necessary information you would need to start recycling your plastic waste at home.
Finally, Precious Plastic was born, they created a website and shared what they learned in short tutorial videos, where you can learn all kind of things. Dave explains to you what plastic is and how you can decide between different types of it. He gives you hints on how to collect plastic efficiently. And of course he explains you how to build the recycling machines and provides all the technical drawings for download. There are four of them. A shredder you need to produce plastic flakes to use in later processes and three different machines to start designing. An injection, a compression and an extrusion.
And then there is my favorite part. The part where it gets creative and he starts to explain how you can build things and gives examples on what you could build. Hats, fruitbowls, toys and a lot more in different colors and patterns. And if you need more help or information, or just inspiration, you can join the community. People from all over the world have already started to recycle but there are still not enough to really make a visible change.
The Next Step
That’s why Dave and his team developed a plan for a Version 3 of Precious Plastic they want to achieve throughout 2017. By providing even more video tutorials, they will support people who want to get started but are still are not really sure how to do so. They will also improve the online platform to enable people to connect locally and help each other out. Moreover, they want to provide starter kits for each machine, so people won’t struggle to find the materials to build them. And they want to create a business plan, so by recycling plastic you could create a financial benefit. All this and even more shall help to expand the community and spread the knowledge about Precious Plastic.
To sum it up, Dave Hakkens’ project Precious Plastic does not solve the core problem that way too much plastic is produced. But it brings attention to the huge amounts of plastic that are polluting our planet and it enables everyone from all over the world to get active and actually do something about it. And while for some people this would be just an unusual hobby, for others it could mean a financial benefit and might improve their living. So I highly recommend you to check out the websites. I’m sure you’ll be impressed.