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Precious Plastic – Cleaning up the Planet from Home

  -   19. March 2017
Source: Hans/

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.

Precious Plastic

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.

Personal Statement

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.


Who wrote it?

Sandra Bleher

Sandra Bleher studies at the European Management School in Mainz.


Sophia Pan
22-03-2017 13:33

I have already seen a video of this innovative project and I was directly really impressed. I think precious plastic is a very good first step in the right direction and it should be promoted even more. I totally agree with you: more people should know about precious plastic so that we can actually start reducing our usage of plastic and start recycling the plastic we already used! After reading your article, I am even thinking about actually building such a machine to recycle all the plastic I unfortunately use on a daily basis. As it seems to be quite easy to build, it could be possible! I really like that you also pointed out to the many problems that plastic actually causes. Because even though precious plastic is a very good innovation, it does not really solve the actual problem. Way too much plastic is being produced and we are not even aware of all the plastic we encounter every day. In my opinion, too many people don't really see the problem of plastic and underestimate it. In general, plastic production should be reduced to a minimum and the already existing plastic should indeed be recycled. Therefore precious plastic is already a good start but I think that much more should be done in this direction.

Samantha Beidinger
22-03-2017 12:56

Plastic production is an issue everybody should be aware of nowadays. It is true, that the use of it provides a lot of possibilities, which is the reason for still producing it. But, just thinking about the fact that it is not biodegradable and is threatening some species and sooner or later, also our own health, is definitely shocking. The idea to invent this machine is a great one and capable of development. I am curious about further development. Even though more people have to be aware of the plastic pollution and the consequences to be convinced about the innovation.

Patricia Hofmann
22-03-2017 12:32

I barely use plastic bags anymore because they are destructive to our world. Of course i know that I still use to much plastic, but only because a lot of things are simply just made ot of plastic. This innovation is a great start. I think it is a good idea that you ca actually build your own machine using your own platic waste. It is kind of interactive and I think you will use the machine more often because you built it yourself. It introduces the topic of plastic pollution in your very home and rises the awareness of this problem.

Thorben Theis
21-03-2017 20:21

This is a great innovation. Plastic waste surrounds us everywhere at every time. I think it is a really cool idea to build something new from plastic waste. This has two benefits. First you recycle plastic and secondly you can create something that you need and would have bought somewhere. Eventhough this is no solution for all the plastic it gives attention to the topic and gives people a creative way of how they can reduce their waste. If everybody would have such a machine less plastic would be found in the narure.

Mia Zerwas
21-03-2017 14:47

I really like the idea of this innovation, since environmental issues caused by plastic polution, will raise more and more. Another innovation giving attention to this problem is the Seabin, sucking plastic garbage out of the oceans. Still.. I think it is important to raise more awareness, and to support a change in consumer behavior. When thinking about this controversy one meme, showing peeled oranges in plastic packing, comes to my mind. Caption: "If only nature would find a way to cover these oranges so we didn't need to waste so much plastic on them."

Franziska Blum
21-03-2017 14:44

The idea of Dave Hakkens goes in a good direction. It makes it maybe easier for people to do something about their plastic waste. However, it might be hard to convince enough people to build their own machine and use it often enoug. For the pollution that already happened, there is still no solution. But this is a huge problem because plastic needs a long time to be decomposed in the nature. As a first approach, to reduce new plastic waste, the idea is quite good and evryone should think about using this or a similar concept to do so.

Theresa Möhn
21-03-2017 12:42

Even though I absolutely agree with you when it comes to the issue of plastic waste I don't know if the idea of Dave Hakkens is enough to change the disrespectful consumer behavior. The innovation is, without doubt, great and I enjoyed reading your article. Sustainability is a topic we should all be concerned of: Which opportunities are there? How can I, myself, make a change? The problem with all innovative eco-inventions is that, sadly enough, you cannot force people to live more sustainable. Surely society is moving towards a greener future and environmental awareness but still it is in most cases either more expensive, more time-consuming or less comfortable to follow social and environmental responsibility. Therefore I love reading about pioneers like Dave Hakkens who try to educate society, work out benefits for consumers and who are completely supporting CSR with all of their energy and hearts. Let's hope that the rest of the world also recognizes the big issue of pollution due to plastic and the opportunities we have to protect our natural resources. Thank you, Sandra, for the input!

21-03-2017 03:08

Wonderful idea ! I saw a video of Precious Plastic on Facebook and I already liked the idea! I like the idea of doing something new out of the old. What I am curious about is that as the plastic flakes have to be melted – what about toxic fumes? How can that be regulated or controlled ? How much electricity do you need to melt the plastic and create something new out of it? If you don’t have green power aren’t you using even more electricity which may come from nuclear power than before? Anyway, inventing this innovation is the right direction to a cleaner world

Patrick Hanke
20-03-2017 20:01

That is a very interesting approach to overcome the increasing problem with the disposal of plastic. From my point of view, this constitutes a demand-pull innovation considering the trend of increasing plastic production and consumption without sufficient awareness of the negative implications. The innovator has definitely understood how to engage people nowadays and has his fingers on the pulse of time: Environmental protection becomes more and more important these days. If you then also give the people the chance to profit financially from participating and to be part of a growing community doing good, the success may almost be guaranteed. Your article has for sure caught my attention for this campaign and I will go check out their website. I am very curious whether a not so technically-talented individual like me can really build such a machine and with this help raise awareness for this important topic!

Marie Schubert
20-03-2017 15:38

I really like this kind of innovation. It is not only about making the world faster and more technology driven, it is basically about making the world a bit better. Plastic is a material which is present in all our lives as you mentioned. I liked how you say that all positive aspects come with a price. I totally agree. Plastic is really damaging our environment and seriously threatening some species, especially animals living in the oceans. Those aspects are rather held under the surface, but I really like the idea of Precious Plastic to increase awareness on the one hand and also offer a measure to decrease plastic usage on the other hand. Precious Plastic is successfully jumping on two trends: people getting more environmental conscious and offering self-made solutions including explanation videos online. What I especially like is that Precious Plastic is appealing directly to the people to make a change on their own. They are clearly stating that every single person of us could make a change only by little effort. But exactly on this point I think there is a hindrance: I can imagine that people might be too lazy to build such machines on their own and then creating new things. In addition, I think that people might not directly feel affected. I do not think that is good, but I think it is true for the majority – unfortunately. However, to my mind, those kinds of innovations are really important for the society and I´d like to see more of them which are then also applied.

Beate Gaitzsch
20-03-2017 11:52

This is a really good idea in my opinion. I would be glad to have a use for all the plastic I'm currently throwing away. It could be a way to show others around you, how easy it is to reuse the plastic, because it is difficult to avoid it. There are stores already which sell only unpacked products, but many people either don't think it's convenient or don't have access to these stores where they live. So this machine could be a first step to do something about it. I think with the new improvements they are planning, they can reach many people out there and there will surely be a big group of people welcoming their product. It is also an alternative to the current system in which, like you pointed out, only a small amount of plastic is really recycled. Let's hope it will work out and we will soon have products out of recycled plastic all around us!



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