Precious Plastics is a project started in 2013 by Dave Hakkens, as part of his graduation project at the Design Academy. The project is a free, open-sourced guide to building machines that can recycle plastic. The intent is that anyone with access to a computer can create a local plastic recycling center by downloading blueprints and watching informational videos about plastics and the processes involved in building and operating the machines.
There are currently four machines on the website: a shredder, a compressor, an injection molding machine, and an extruder. All of these machines cost less than $200 individually to build, as many parts can be sourced from junk yards, and reportedly take a few days to build. What can be made with these machines? For starters, anything that requires a mold (vessels, toys, planters, and candleholders are just a few that I have found so far.) The extruding machine also allows you to make spools of 3d printer filament, which seems especially useful.
It’s clear that Hakkens main intent is to encourage people all around the world to recycle as much plastic waste as possible (and to share knowledge) that can help to create a more sustainable environment while supporting economic growth.
On a related note, here are some Dan Peterman sculptures made from %100 post-consumer plastics, a material which he collected from trash dumps. The objects and structures that Peterman creates re-contextualize the material and allow the viewer to consider the implications that these objects have on the environment and within our culture. I’m interested in how these consumer products are able to endure over time- in ways that were not completely considered by their makers.