Precious plastic: the alternative plastic recycling system


Precious Plastic

Company type

non for profit


Plastic waste

Business model

Repurpose for society

Circular principle

Encourage learning and experimentation


Plastic is one of the most precious materials on earth. It’s lightweight, strong, easy to shape and great to recycle. But plastic is seen as a disposable and worthless material, it’s cheap, produced in enormous quantities and shipped all over the world. Of all the plastic we use just 10% is recycled. Mainly because the machines that produce plastic products are expensive, extremely complex and are used very efficient to keep costs low. Working with recycled plastic runs the risk of damaging or polluting machines, which might slow down the production process.



Plastic can easily be recycled. It needs relative low temperatures and pressures. We just need to sort it and have tools to turn it into new things. The project is a set of plastic machines, developed to set up a small scale plastic workshop. The machinery is based on general industrial techniques, but designed to build yourself. The machine is easy to use and made to work with recycled plastic. Whilst this entire project is still in development, the machines are shared open source online and improved by the community.



Value proposition: Precious Plastic recently launched Version 4 of its system, called the Precious Plastic Universe. In short, it’s an alternative plastic recycling system run by friends and neighbors who use free plans and blueprints from the project website for everything from collecting and shredding to manufacturing recycled plastic products.

Value creation and delivery: Precious Plastic started six years ago and has partnered with organizations including the United Nations Environment Programme in Kenya, Parley for the Oceans in the Maldives and Grameen Telecom in Bangladesh to help set up plastic recycling workspaces and push local plastic recycling. Hakkens, the creator of Precious Plastic,  doesn’t see Precious Plastic as a consumer good. Instead, he envisions small community centers where people can drop off plastic waste, get reimbursed for it, and then the shop will convert the old bottles and litter into purchasable goods

Value capture: The Precious Plastic effort is almost entirely grassroots and volunteer, but has been supported by a mix of grants. The site also has a Patreon component with about 500 monthly donors.  To launch Version 4, the project received 300,000 euros (about $327,000 U.S.) from a French foundation called Famae. The money was used to bring more than 100 volunteers to the Netherlands to work on the project, using warehouse space donated by the city of Eindhoven.



Precious Plastic website

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