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Tackling the Plastic Problem as a DIY

Updated: Oct 14, 2020

Plastic may have been the manufacturing miracle of the last generation, the versatile marvel poised to reinvent the way we imagine our society and its capabilities. Today, though, it’s a tremendous blight on humanity’s environmental record and a devastating problem crying out for the whole world’s attention.

Our oceans are filled with plastic waste. Estimates of precisely how much vary, but there’s probably some five trillion pieces clogging our planet’s water systems. That’s about 700 pieces of plastic for every human on Earth.

More than that, says a new study out of the University of Georgia, the plastic waste disaster is being egregiously mishandled by those populations whose proximity to the oceans makes them their most likely stewards. Even conservative estimates suggest that between 4.8 million to 12.7 million metric tons of plastic choke our oceans. And scientists’ projected estimates of the plastic ocean waste they anticipate for 2050 hover around one ton of plastic per two tons of fish.

Fortunately, though, there are various efforts afoot to address the problem.

One of the most practical and wide-ranging is Precious Plastic V2.0. This initiative was undertaken by an enraged and engaged Dave Hakkens, with a view to putting plastic recycling into the hands of the people. Here, free and open-source blueprints, plans, and instructions for building your own plastic recycling machine are available for download by the masses.

The Precious Plastics V2.0 setup is designed to be built with basic tools and materials, making a smart, simple means of transforming plastic waste into new products more accessible than ever. Once completed, these personal plastic workshops include a shredder, an extruder, an injection device, and a compression machine.

The full set of Precious Plastic V2.0 information, which includes the CAD files and blueprints as well as posters, images, and instructions, is available as a free download under an open-source license and is presented alongside various how-to videos that walk people through the process.

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