Precious Plastic: from Eindhoven to the World

Precious Plastic Container Work space
Precious Plastic's container work space for recycling and producing.

Last Wednesday, October 3rd 2018, Precious Plastic project officially opened its doors at the VDMA building in Eindhoven with the special welcome from Yasin Torunoglu, alderman of living, real estate and spatial development.

Temporary Home

Visit of Yasin Torunoglu for Precious Plastic official opening
Visit of Yasin Torunoglu for Precious Plastic’s official opening at VDMA on 03.10.2018

Precious plastic project exists since 2013 and was initially based in Helmond until August 2018 when the municipality of Eindhoven temporarily handed over two halls of the VDMA garage to Precious Plastic for a year.

After this period, in the middle of 2019, the building will be given for further development to the winner of the competition that has been settled by the municipality.

Due to the innovative and global characteristic of the project, Yasin Torunoglu said that this is an opportunity for Eindhoven to show the world it is a global city that fosters technology and innovation.

The Plastic Problem

Dave Hakkens founded Precious Plastic to fight the plastic pollution after discovering that only about 10% of the plastic in the world is recycled. Part of the problem is the diversity of plastic types and the difficulty involved in the recycling process.

For companies, collecting, cleaning and separating plastic for recycling and to add the right additives result in production costs which are, most of the times, higher than using virgin raw materials. Apart from that, the machinery to process the plastic is highly complex and expensive which prevents small businesses and people to start recycling on their own.

Therefore, in the first version of Precious Plastic Dave and his collaborators studied the plastic problem and started developing plastic recycling machines that can be easily built with materials and tools that are widely available anywhere in the world.

Project

The project is now in its fourth version which consists of archiving, organizing and spreading the knowledge the project has acquired so far in an understandable way, improve machines and products from previous versions, build bigger machines, discover new products and more applications for the recycled plastic.

For instance, there is a plan to build a bigger shredder, able to process more plastic at once, a bigger extruder to produce bigger beams and a big sheet press to produce sheets that can be used for building things, cnc milling or lasering.

Mission and Core Values

Precious plastic exists to fight plastic pollution by providing people around the world the information they need to build the machines that can recycle different kinds of plastic and transform it in valuable products.

The project has no commercial goals, is independent and open source, which means that it is kept with donations and contributions coming from the global community of plastic recyclers and enthusiasts and that all the knowledge accumulated is shared on line for free.

Ultimately Dave Hakkens would like to see a mindset change fostered by the project. “Metal rusts away, but plastic stays for hundreds of years. For some reason we use it to make the most disposable stuff. That is also one of the reasons for the project to be called ‘Precious Plastic’, we also want to try to change this mind set, because it is a valuable, precious resource, not just a disposable, cheap material.”

How can you start recycling?

Shredder and extruder machines
Shredder and extruder machines that you can build following instructions on Precious Plastic’s website. Source: Precious Plastic

All the information one should need to put in place a plastic recycling shop is provided via video tutorials, Blue prints (technical drawings with details) and the forum.

It is possible to gather information on how to build your own work space, plastic shredders, extrusion machines, injection and compression machines.

The plastic shredder transforms bottles, bags and other objects into small chips that can be processed by the other machines to create different products.

Recommendations to collect and sort the plastic, as well as recipes for different products, textures and colors are available to everyone on the website.

World Network

A big part of the version three of the project consisted of building the plastic recycling community by setting a forum where people can exchange ideas and knowledge and offering a map that shows work spaces, machine builders and people that want to get started.

Thanks to that, people interested in joining the plastic recycling movement can find each other using the Precious Plastic map available on the website.

Map of Precious Plastic's community
Map of Precious Plastic’s community showing the location of people that want to get started with recycling plastic. Source: Precious Plastic.

Volunteers in Eindhoven

For this version of Precious Plastic, Dave Hakkens is receiving about 100 volunteers from all over the world. They are coming to Eindhoven to help developing the project further.

The team has from vegan chefs and designers to engineers, software developers and administrators which will stay in VDMA which offers a kitchen, office spaces and a living area.

Precious Plastic has open doors during the DDW

If you would like to know more, you can visit the Precious Plastic exhibition during the Dutch Design Week where the recycled plastic products are exposed and check their website. https://preciousplastic.com/en/.

 

to Eindhoven News by Diana Bizarro

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