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Precious Plastic

The machines that enable anyone to recycle plastic

Precious Plastic is an open hardware and design project that offers a new way to recycle plastic. By releasing the designs for a family of open source machines, the project promotes and supports the spread of personal and local workshops for creating objects out of raw recycled materials.

The Precious Plastic machines allow users to transform plastic bottles into flakes that can be compressed, injected or extruded to create new things. The only limit to what can be made is people’s imagination.

All the machines are designed to be inclusive and modular, enabling an easy building process; they are open source and all blueprints and instructions are released under the MIT License.

Initiated by Dave Hakkens in 2013 as a thesis project at the Design Academy Eindhoven, it took him two years to scale the project from a research project on materials recycling to the prototype of the machines and finally to a real functioning ecosystem of machines, blueprints and a community.

From the mechanical drawings to the web video tutorials, all of the project’s components are developed collaboratively by volunteers and by the Precious Plastic community which is building and customising machines all over the world. Key to its success is the documenting process carried out through an online platform.

The website also features an updated map that shows all the contributors who are participating in the initiative with the goal of cleaning the world of plastic waste. Currently, there are machine makers in all 36 places across six continents, not only in the world’s richest countries (like the US and Western Europe) but also in, for example, the Maldives, the West Bank and Sri Lanka.

Precious Plastics have just launched their MONEY and PEOPLE campaign to spread plastic recycling around the world. This will be done by:

  • Creating a series of products that can be made using their machines, with online tutorials to guide people
  • Developing their online platform to make collaboration easier
  • Provide starter kits to help people build precious plastic machines more easily
  • Develop business models that will enable people to use plastic waste to make a living

Watch their video below to find out more or support them here

Case study date: February 2017. 




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