Dezeen and MINI World Tour: in our next movie from Eindhoven, Design Academy Eindhoven graduate Dave Hakkens shows us how his Precious Plastic recycling machines work and explains why he made the blueprints freely available online.

Precious Plastic local recycling centre by Dave Hakkens

Hakkens' Precious Plastic project is a set of simple machines for recycling plastic and making new products locally.

He says he got the idea for the project after visiting plastic manufacturing companies and discovering that they were reluctant to use recycled plastic.

Precious Plastic local recycling centre by Dave Hakkens

"We recycle just 10% [of waste plastic]," says Hakkens. "I wondered why we recycle so little so I investigated it. I went to all these companies and I realised that they don't really want to use recycled plastic. So I wanted to make my own tools so I could use recycled plastic locally."

Precious Plastic local recycling centre by Dave Hakkens

The Precious Plastic machines include a plastic shredder, an extruder, an injection moulder and a rotation moulder, which Hakkens made using a combination of new custom-made components and reclaimed parts he found at a scrapyard.

"I made these machines based on industrial standards," says Hakkens. "But they are all made very simple so you can produce locally. Like a craftsman, you can start working with plastic."

Precious Plastic local recycling centre by Dave Hakkens

Hakkens designed a range of products to be produced using the machines, including a rotation-moulded waste paper bin, an injection-moulded spinning top and an extruded plastic lamp.

However, he says the machines can be used to make a much wider variety of products.

"You can make whatever you want," he explains. "Everybody can use [the machines] to make whatever they want and set up their own production."

Precious Plastic local recycling centre by Dave Hakkens

Like Hakkens' Phonebloks concept for a modular mobile phone, Precious Plastic is an open-source project and Hakkens hopes other designers will adapt and improve the machines over time.

"I developed these machines and I shared them on the internet," Hakkens says. "People can make them on the other side of the world and send some feedback and say, 'hey, maybe you can do this better'. In the end you'll have this set of machines and you can start a local recycling centre."

Design Academy Eindhoven graduate Dave Hakkens
Design Academy Eindhoven graduate Dave Hakkens
  • Alexxica

    Instead of just denigrating the project, why not offer a solution or advice? It may not be a perfect solution but it’s a step in the right direction.

    • hauntore

      His cold critique isn’t denigrating it simply helps in a more direct manner.


  • g

    Mixing some Studio Swine and Dirk van der Kooij.

  • Gregory Gilmour

    Good point. Keep the trash at the home, you have have just turned into a factory!

  • JM

    This guy is great!

  • Eh

    I like the idea of recycling plastics, but sometimes I feel like it’s delaying the inevitable. Eventually someone will get tired of the cup or bowl or trashcan made from recycled plastic and it will go back in the landfill. Plastic takes a long time to disintegrate and plastics often release toxic chemicals into the soil, air, water etc.

    Overall we need to start really focusing on making products using non-toxic processes and materials that degrade safely (glass, paper, wood, vegetable dyes, etc) and move away from plastics altogether. Or, you know, move away from the disposable-goods consumer society we currently live in… both would probably be good.