DIY plastic recycling machine will revolutionize waste management

| November 4, 2013

Dutch designer Dave Hakkens’s latest project, Precious Plastics, may have just opened the doors for do-it-yourself plastic recycling. This comes at a time when only a meager amount of accumulated plastic waste is reprocessed. In fact, in 2011, only 8 percent of the total amount of plastic waste generated was recovered for recycling.

The Precious Plastics project

The first of its kind, Hakkens’s venture combines a plastic shredder, extruder, injection moulder, and rotation moulder to create bins, lampshades, candle holders, and other knick-knacks from waste plastic. “I wanted to make my own tools so that I could use recycled plastic locally,” he said.


Hakkens’s open-source prototype for a plastic recycling machine is a revolution in waste management as it can help the common man bring about environmental change. His prototype follows the complex model of industrial plastic recycling; however, his machines have been modified to be simple and flexible enough for local production centers. Hakkens suggests that a financial incentive in exchange for raw material from the local population can boost this kind of plastic recycling.

Manufacturers prefer new plastics over recyclable plastic waste

“I went to all these companies and I realized that the machines they use to build plastic products are really expensive, very precise and efficient, and [the manufacturers] don’t want to use recycled plastic because it’s not as pure so it could damage the machinery or slow down production,” Hakkens told Dezeen magazine.

Sorting of plastics for recycling in industries also comes with some inaccuracies. As such, domestic recycling makes sense. It takes the cycle of plastic, which is pretty complex and wide, and simplifies it, “putting recycling straight into the hands of people, right where they live,” Treehugger reports.

Products of Hakkens' plastic recycling project

The plastic products that Hakkens has recycled using the prototype machine include bins, lampshades, candle holders, and spinning tops. From Dezeen

Hakkens’s project was recently exhibited at Eindhoven’s Dutch Design Week. He plans to upload the blue prints of his project online, so that people the world over can set up their own recycling workshops and create new products from neighborhood waste. He hopes that ideas generated due to crowdsourcing can help improvise the prototype. He also believes that, in the future, this process can be used for 3D printing too.

A graduate from Design Academy Eindhoven, Netherlands, Hakken has previously developed prototypes for several environment-friendly projects. His aim behind such endeavors is to “try to make the world better by making things.”

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Category: Blog Landing Page, Plastic, Recycling programs

About the Author ()

A creative writer at heart, Lisa currently writes for SmartSign’s blogs and dabbles in content strategies for SEO. She spends the rest of the time lounging in the comforts of her home, surfing the internet for areas of interest, or traveling to unexplored destinations. Having previously studied and worked in the field of journalism and media, Lisa likes calling herself a web journalist. She takes special interest in grassroots and tribal issues, and topics concerning women empowerment. She swears that books are a person’s best travel companion, and that good food can liven up any dull day. Lisa lives in the beautiful city of Jaipur, India.

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  1. Bruce LeGros says:

    Great advice here. Because plastic isn’t biodegradable, shredding for easy of recycling is really a thing of the now, no longer the future. It’s such a simple step, but if more companies do it, then it would impact the world greatly.