Even though it can effectively reduce the plastic waste problem in the world, the practice of recycling is still incredibly low for now. According to Greenpeace, only 8.4% of plastic wastes worldwide made its way into the recycling process. Even worse, the plastic bag recycling rate is only 1%, while the product itself is the most common plastic waste to pollute our land. To effectively reduce the amount of plastic pollution on our land and sea, there needs to be more recycling performed. Thanks to Precious Plastic, we can hope to see an increasing rate of the plastic recycling process.
Introducing the Precious Plastic
Aside from reducing the use, recycling can be an effective solution to avoid the plastic pollution in our Earth. However, it takes a long and complicated process to transform plastic trash into something new and useful. It is quite much of a burden to do by a single individual or institution.
That is when Dave Hakkens came up with a more logical solution by building a system to allow people all over the world to cooperate in the global process. Precious Plastic allows anyone to build communities or start workspaces to focus on performing one part of the recycling process. Communities and workspaces will rely on and complement each other. Together, they can finish the complete process of recycling.
How Precious Plastic Universe Works
The Precious Plastic Universe is a network of interconnecting spaces located in many places all over the world. Everybody can join the Universe and choose the space they want to contribute to. Each space focuses on one specific process to perform. Together, all the spaces will complete a cycle of plastic recycling.
Spaces are Dependant to Each Other
Some spaces have even more specifications on their business activities. Here they are;
1. Collection Points
The recycling process begins by collecting all the plastic wastes. Collection points are the ones responsible for this step by receiving plastic wastes from the neighborhood. They also need to filter and sort all the wastes by the plastic-type for easier follow-up. The space is easy to operate and doesn’t take much of your time.
All the plastics received by the collection points would then move forward to the workspaces for processing. In Precious Plastic, there are five workspaces with their specific jobs to do. Here they are:
- Shredder Workspaces
The first step to convert plastic waste into something else is by shredding it. This process is mainly vital in plastic bottle recycling. With a standard shredding machine, you would be able to produce up to 50 kilograms of plastic flakes in one hour. Flakes are the basic forms of plastic for many kinds of recycling processes.
- Extrusion Workspaces
The extrusion workspaces create beams and bricks which can be highly durable and unbreakable, due to the characteristic of the plastic itself. A single screw machine can mold up to 20 kilograms of plastic per hour. If you are creative, you can create blocks in many colors, sizes, and patterns.
- Sheet-Press Workspaces
In sheet-press workplaces, the plastic flakes will transform into sheets. People can use the sheets to make artistic products such as wall clock, drinking bottle, and many other things. The Precious Plastic’s pressing machine can process up to 20 kilograms of plastic flakes per hour. This procedure can result in multiple sheets, depending on the thickness adjusted. All the sheets are 1 x 1 meter wide.
- Injection Workspaces
Transform any plastic waste into a whole new product with a plastic injection molding technique. Each injection workspace is free to decide what kind of products they want to mold. Just submit your design to the Machine Shop and get your customized molding machine.
- Mix Workspaces
A Mix workspace suits for anyone who loves all the processing workspaces and can’t decide which one to take. Although it might be more difficult to operate, this kind of workspace allows you to deliver more varied products.
3. Machine Shops
Machine shop provides all the tools and gears required by workspaces. It is also the place to develop new machines to release. People who have ideas can submit their concept to Machine Shops so the team can develop it. Any workspaces or even anyone outside the Precious Plastic Universe can buy machines from the Machine Shops.
A bazaar is a marketplace where end-products of plastic recycling are getting displayed and marketed. All the workspaces in the Precious Plastic Universe can sell the goods they produce. Even common people who are not a part of this institution can buy recycled plastic products.
5. Community Point
Community Point is what binds all the spaces and the people around. Their main responsibility is to encourage people to contribute more to the effort of keeping plastic away from polluting the environment. Community Points are also active in checking on other spaces to see whether they need extra support.
Many Things to Produce from Recycled Plastic
Although the network itself is international, each space prioritizes operating in a local circle. Collect plastic wastes from the neighbor, order machines from nearest Machine Shops, and sell products for what people around require. Localization reduces the need for shipping, which is a major source of carbon emission. Keeping your business local also helps in building the local economy and solidarity in the community.
Many people have joined the Precious Plastic Universe as they believe this global system brings many advantages, both for the Earth and the people. Here are some benefits this program may bring:
1. Massive Reduction of Plastic Pollution
With many people joining and sharing responsibilities, this network would be able to perform recycling more efficiently. Hence, more plastics get recycled. The bigger the Precious Plastic grows, the more we can reduce global plastic pollution significantly.
2. Interesting End-Products
With more focus on each step of the process, the series of processes would deliver better quality. Not to mention the basic character of the plastic itself, which is durable and versatile. Added with some bits of creativity, the products of Precious Plastic would be more impressive than other recycled products from other companies. Some of the things you can get from the Bazaar are Jenga blocks, plant vases, cellphone cases, and many other more.
3. Strengthening International Solidarity
The interconnecting network helps people to build solidarity, as the communities share the same vision. Even more than that, members can also build solidarity with their neighboring society, especially those who come to Bazaar and Collection Points much.
4. Raising Awareness and Contribution
Because it is an open project where everybody can join in, Precious Plastic has thousands of active members for now. Besides doing their contribution , they also spread awareness and inspire the communities around them to care about the sustainability of our planet. Conventional recycling companies would be this engaging to the neighboring community.
Be A Part of Precious Plastic
Anyone can choose any space to build in the communities in the Precious Plastic Universe. You can also register yourself as a member without building any space, allowing you to contribute without commitment.
If you are interested to build spaces, try accessing the Precious Plastic website where you can see complete information about each type of spaces, including;
- Initial cost and the estimated revenue
- Number of people required to run the business
- Estimated duration to build the space
- Electricity needed for daily operation
- Difficulty and technical level of how to run the business
- Number of plastic can be processed in full operation
Once you have made your choice, contact Precious Plastic officials to register yourself on the program. But before that, you need to make sure that there has been no same space in your neighborhood. If your preferred space has existed in your area, you can visit their base and get yourself joining in. Or, you can choose another space to create.
After approving your registration, Precious Plastic will give you starter-kits for your agreed space. The package includes:
- Step-by-step guideline
- Video tutorial
- Blueprints and floor plans
- Business tools, including graphic materials
- Safety kits
More About the Company
Dave Hakkens released Precious Plastic in 2013 as an open-source project. That means anyone can join in and contribute as a member of the Precious Plastic Universe. Everybody can get free access to all the files including the guidelines, floor plans, graphic materials, and even the blueprints.
Precious Plastic gives people chances to build their own plastic recycling companies with strong support from the international community. Up until now, there have been more than 40,000 people in over 400 workspaces in the Precious Plastic Universe.
The spaces are spread across the globe. But the company’s headquarters is in Eindhoven, Netherlands. If you want to be a part of the Precious Plastic Universe and build your space, feel free to visit here. For deeper looks at the whole project, kindly check out the Dave Hakkens Official Channel on Youtube.
Precious Plastic is more than just the common plastic bottle recycling business. Instead, it is a communal project of general plastic recycling on an international level which aims for a cleaner Earth and sustainable living. The whole concept makes perfect sense because we all live on the same planet. Hence, we should walk together hand in hand to save it.