When Design Academy Eindhoven graduate student Dave Hakkens learned that only ten percent of discarded plastic is actually recycled, he decided to create “Precious Plastic,” an open-source collection of machines that recycle plastic on a small scale. After interviewing several manufacturing companies, he was told that much of the expensive, precise machinery could not handle the impurities of waste plastic. So, he decided to fabricate three machines that are capable of shredding, melting, and molding salvaged plastic.
The parts for the Precious Plastics’ machines were sourced from a scrapyard and fashioned into three units that can manipulate plastic trash. Hakkens was able to fabricate an injection-molded spinning top, rotation-molded rubbish bin, and lamp, and has plans to publish blueprints for his inventions in order to let others expand the range of products and refine the machines.
“The idea is that you can make whatever molds you want for it – so I made this, but I prefer that everybody can just use them and make whatever they want and start setting up their production,” he told Dezeen. “People can just make [the machines] on the other side of the world, and maybe send some feedback and say ‘maybe you can do this better.’”
Precious Plastic could eventually complement the rise of 3D printers by providing an inexpensive method to create feedstock. Hakkens also foresees community residents being paid to bring recyclables to the workshop and creating a craft economy. His machines, along with his mobile phone made of removable blocks will be featured at Dutch Design Week through October 27.