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DIY: Turning plastic into your new favourite stuff

DIY: Turning Plastic Into Your New Favourite Stuff

Sometimes you come across something that makes you so enthusiastic, you want to start right away. For me, that was the case when I first heard about Precious Plastic. A project started by recently graduated Dave Hakkens from Helmond. Imagine recycling your plastic waste at home with your self-made machines, making  new plastic objects in shapes and colours you decide for yourself. You can think about cups, bowls and paper clipboards, but also handles for cabinets and raw material such as wires. The possibilities are endless! Sounds awesome right?

Precious Plastic was originally started as Dave’s graduation project at the Design Academy in Eindhoven in 2013. At that time, it was not a fully implemented project, but a kind of concept or prototype that needed properly working machines. After graduation, Dave put his Precious Plastic concept on hold, but he did not forget about it. He put up an online request for an interested machine builder for help and that is how he met Kees de Ligt. That is how the ball started rolling and development commenced. The project was finished after two years and now it is ready for the world to use.

So how does it work? On the website of Precious Plastic you can find everything you need to know to build the four different machines. One of the strengths of the project is that it is open source. Dave wants to have as much people as possible to start recycling, which is why anyone can access and use the information needed. There are different blueprints, tutorials and guiding videos for each machine. First, you need a shredding machine as a basis for your recycling process. This machine – as the name suggests – shreds your plastic waste into small flakes which will be used by the other machines to actually start making stuff. Next, you can choose to build an injection machine, which is suitable for making small objects repeatedly, a compression machine for bigger things such as a basket or bowl, or, if you want to make raw materials such as granulated plastic, an extrusion machine. The four machines vary in difficulty level, costs and time needed to build, and sometimes materials are harder to obtain. However, the tutorial also contains a detailed list with where to get which specific material helping people with the task.

The project Precious Plastic is not just about making new objects out of waste, it is also about  creating a community through which like-minded, enthusiastic people can meet to talk and work together. Up until now, the Dave Hakkens community – which is also focused on his other project Phonebloks – counts more than 35.000 members, engaging in several topics. These topics range from helping with building the machines and sharing one’s creations, to plastic research and recycling in general. In only 63 days, Precious Plastic has already been shared on social media more than 60.000 times, and attracted visitors from 228 different countries. Clearly, the concept is attracting people worldwide. Thinking about it, my family still has an empty shed available, so I know what I will be doing when I am back home. Happy recycling!

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