This topic contains 86 replies, has 27 voices, and was last updated by Anonymous 2 years ago.
Hello Precious Plastic community! I’m new here. I apologize up front for the big piece of text 🙂
Who am I?
I’m a young Dutch guy from the Eindhoven region with a love for recycling systems. I recently graduated from Business University and saw my freedom as a chance to travel around Southeast Asia. This journey made me realize how many people do not have access to a system to properly discard and recycle waste, and what the impact of this is worldwide.
According to a study published in the peer-reviewed journal Science Advances, about 8.3 billion metric tons of plastic have been produced since the 1950s. 6.3 billion metric tons of this has become plastic waste and of that, only 9% has ever been recycled. The sheer numbers are simply terrifying. Especially when you think that all this plastic waste ends up in the air (through burning), in/on the ground, or in the water. Coupled with population growth and increased production levels, the world needs to realize that we simply cannot continue on this path. We need to either replace plastic with more biodegradable materials, or close the waste circle.
While I was traveling I came up with all these ideas for closing the waste stream. I also started looking online. It made me very happy to find Dave’s Precious Plastic project. Somebody is already working to solve this problem in an awesome, open-sourced way. Moreover, this guy is from close to my own home town! I thought to myself: “Great! So what can I do to help him?”
I don’t really have the technical knowledge needed for machine building or the chemistry knowledge to find new applications for discarded plastic. But I think precious plastic already has many people with these skillsets..
So what does precious plastic need?
Users! In order for Precious Plastic to make a significant impact, we need many people worldwide to use this awesome system! And this is a field where I do have skills. In business school I basically learned how to make a significant global impact in our contemporary capitalist system.What Precious Plastic needs is a good Business Plan.
“But wait, there already is a Business Plan!?”
That’s true, there is funding from donations, patreon and multiple international foundations. Furthermore, people with a recycling workshop now have the online Bazar to sell their products. So that’s great! But that’s not what I mean. We need to give people the knowledge and tools to make their workspace profitable. Just like the precious plastic website gives people the technical knowledge to build the workspace, machines and products, it should also give people the business knowledge to make their workspace successful.
“Profit!? Sounds so capitalistic…”
I know that Precious Plastic is not like a traditional company where it’s all about earning profit. However, in order for the project to grow, each workspace needs it’s economic viability. An organization that mainly depends on donations and volunteers just doesn’t grow fast enough. When a workspace is able to make substantial profit this money can be used to increase awareness, scale up production or give something back to the community that puts hard work into making this project work. Simply put: profit serves to be reinvested in the project to have a growing impact. This is called Sustainable Business.
What would I like to do?
Together with a dedicated team, I would like to set up an all-round, openly available business plan that the Precious Plastic community can use to start increasing their local impact. I believe that business and operations are crucial points of knowledge that all workspaces need. The problem is of course, that every workspace is in a different situation. Different situations mean different business plans. The challenge is to create one that is like a template. A business plan containing general information that can be used by everyone to suit their local needs. This can then be incorporated into precious plastic version 4.
What this plan will look like
The rollout of this plan will have to happen on two levels. Globally and locally. On a global scale Precious Plastic needs to evolve by providing the new information through a book or web app. Furthermore, Precious Plastic needs partnerships to grow. An example of a mutually beneficial business partnership would be Ikea. Ikea could sell locally made precious plastic items in their stores worldwide. For precious plastic this would increase awareness and sales and for Ikea it would be a good CSR opportunity.
On a local scale there will be three template business plans. One for workspaces, machine builders and people that want to get started. For each of these a different business template is needed, but at the same time they are also all connected. Machine builders serve as a hub, from where all the workspaces can be supplied with machines and moulds but potentially also many other things needed to set up and operate a workspace.
The spokes of this system are the workspaces. The workspaces need to set up an infrastructure for collecting plastic, spread awareness, find retailers, get workers and volunteers etc. etc.. Of course every local shop already has its own ways and ideas, so the business plan mainly serves as a guideline, asking people whether they’ve taken everything in account and providing them with the tools to do finance, accounting, marketing, supply chain etc. An example of a great thing that precious plastic global can offer to workspaces are poster designs that workspaces can print hang around the community to raise awareness.
Finally, people that want to get started get a guide to setting up their workspace, not only in a technical sense, but also from a business perspective. Furthermore, they should be brought into contact with their local machine builder where they can buy the materials they need. Since Precious Plastic is a tight, high trust community it would be possible for machine builders to do local sales on a loan. The machine builder will provide moulds and machines to the workspace while keeping ownership. The workspace then can start turning profit and pays the moulds and machines back within an agreed upon time. If the workspace pays the machine builder back completely (this can be done at once or in installments) the workspace gets the ownership over the machines. If the workspace does not manage to raise enough funds within the set time the machine builder can come to an agreement with the workspace to extend the payback time or to take back the machines. The advantage for the machine builder is that he will be able to set up more workspaces, and sell more machines, since people do not need high initial funds to set up a workspace. On the other hand it will be easier to set up a workspace and the community as a whole will grow quicker. Of course this can only happen when there is high trust between the machine builder and workspace and if the machine builder is financially able to sell machines on a loan.
These are just a couple of ideas but an overall structure is needed covering everything from finance to marketing to human resources and value chain management. The overall goal would be to get this global community to work in unison and for the movement to grow into making a significant worldwide impact.
How would I like to do this
These are just a few ideas for things that could be incorporated in a business plan. However, it is far from being a complete business strategy. For this, I would first like to meet with Dave in his workspace to talk about the business side of precious plastic and his vision for the future (if you are reading this Dave, hit me up!). After that I will need a team of people that each focus on a specific aspect of this plan to write a beta version. Then, each of the team members, including me, would have to go volunteer at a few workspaces all over the world to find challenges, flaws and new ideas. After that the plan can be updated into its final form and published online for the whole world to use.
I am really excited to help precious plastic grow their global impact and I’m totally willing to put my own time and effort into this project because I can learn so much and have such a positive impact. Also, I’m sure I can find like-minded people in the community that could help me make this idea a reality. I would really like to hear what you guys think and I’m always open for ideas and suggestions.
@anne-barbier So will you write again all the arguments we saw already many times? Will you then start to be less and less polite if we keep to answer as it happened with your friend Guenter? Are you Guenter?
Anyway, “Despite that these machines are lacking CE certification(rendering them also illegal), ” this proves clearly that you have just no idea about what you are talking, about what is PP or what is open source in general.
Guenter is sitting right next to me. Yes I am writing here on his behalf but I can assure you that I have a full understanding of the issue and conflict here. We understand that you have and defend your very own interpretation of what “precious plastic” may means to you. Also I doubt that a single person can claim to speak for the entire community. We however, we speak for our machine builders and our communities. We picked the project up last year, due to requests from our communities here. Our goal was not to build a single shredder, far from that. There are around 10 stations ahead. This magnitude of quantity forces us to explore issues and real prices in deep. We have to make sure we can deliver a reproducible way of recycling plastic with a high efficiency and good results. That are basically proceedings of Dave’s attempts.
At this point we had to report the found issues here and we don’t understand why you refuse to update your materials with the numerous found issues and protect others whilst it is a matter of minutes to show some responsible acting.
Thanks for your understandings.
We just figured out that you deleted numerous posts from Guenter, exploring prices, fees and scope issues when building or ‘Getting into Precious Plastic’ reports. This is what he means by ‘irresponsible’ acting. We think it’s important to have evidence and first-hand reports to make the project viable and getting it finally out of the garage. Removing that evidence and reports is serious offence against the public domain, the domain you want to work for. You said it yourself, he has valuable input, ignoring his long-term engineer and volunteer experience with his background of 20 years professional activity in the field makes us wonder what your motivations are.
Please elaborate! As said, we’ve dedicated non trivial resources to Precious Plastic, long-term.
Guenter’s topics have not been deleted, only some of his posts that included hateful content.
On regards of Guenter’s spreadsheet and topics, his findings will be taken into account when Precious Plastic v4 is released. I have read all of the information he has shared and I don’t see any mention of something critical that needs to be added into the Precious Plastic v3 documentation.
We already have multiple topics to discuss present issues such as machines safety addons and warnings, knives re-design for better efficiency and less torque requirements, use of one single steel thickness instead of multiple gauges, and all that info will be included in the PP v4 package eventually.
Yeah maybe the workflow of precious plastic needs some better explaining to be able to better understand it. The way it’s been working so far, and anybody can correct me if I’m wrong, is that the precious plastic team releases a new version. Then people get started with that new version, and ideally share their experiences on the forums to take into consideration for the next version. I think the team also meets up with people building/using the machines around the world to also get a better idea of what works, what doesn’t and what can be improved. They then gather all the input and start reworking the project where all of the new stuff gets launched with a new version.
So there isn’t anybody who is constantly updating the website whenever something is being mentioned on the forums, which Guenter perhaps was expecting. And there might not always be somebody that will reply, which might make you feel like you’re being ignored. But the way Guenter started responding to this lacked quite a bit of respect towards the people that put so much time and effort in PP so far.
The research that has gone into getting the machines and all the information to its current state and finding out how to use them is tremendous, and that’s just a small part of running PP. There’s documenting everything and putting that into different formats: Video’s with step by step instructions and a neatly organized downloadable kit with a huge amount of information, technical drawings with BOM and 3D models. Then there’s this website and the precious plastic website designed (don’t underestimate the time it takes for making a proper working interface and layout) and built from scratch, with a user database and lots of custom features. There’s the social media marketing and communication and a ton of e-mails and phone calls to reply to with requests for interviews, meetings, conferences and talks. All done by a handful of unpaid people/volunteers as they haven’t had a big budget over the last years while working on this.
Then somebody with a lack of understanding and respect for all of that starts screaming and accusing them for being a scam and liars, it’s not surprising they don’t feel like listening to or dealing with that person. Even if he might have valid points.
p.s. Just an idea that popped in my head as I was typing: perhaps it could be good to start opening issues (bugs/enhancements/questions) on Github based on feedback on the forums. We could then post a link to the issue as a reply to the topic so people see if something has been noted and can keep track of the progress. I’m not sure how well this would work for PP but on another forum/project I’m active this seems to work. It could also help with planning for the next version.
That’s exactly how Guenter’s reasoning sounds like 🙂
yeah, what else i can say left ? there are dozens of reports which make your public material invalid, misleading and plain false……you chose to ignore the users with goovy reasoning and I can tell you, I couldn’t sleep a single minute when i know my public material could lead to harm, waste,…. especially when i know what kind of users i am going to ruin: not rich kids! little to zero space for mistakes. anyway let’s forget about this now. eventually one day you are grown up and understand: care taking instead of ignorance 🙂
so this is what have tell every time i have a client (i can’t count it anymore, at least 5+ times) 80% of them decide not to do it at the end:
– no professional or heavy/long – term use with what is suggested in v3
– 10 times the price of what is exposed in v3
– 4-6 weeks full-time work to get all machines
– new: professional equipment needed to wash & prepare plastic
– no filament
– requires full time attention
– little capacities with yet very low efficiency to recycle plastic
– huge load extra equipment needed or pricey molds, external services to actually develop a product
– serious contact with hazards
– hefty electricity bills
– limited range plastic to be recycled
– you’re entering an industrial niche, requiring industrial machines/fees and maintenance and experience
– suggested invest: 15000 Euro for the whole entry (machines, equipment, services)
you’re making yourself a fool to say, suggest or think otherwise !
pretty expensive at the end to get into precious plastic, regardless it’s hobby or professional use, so it’s a heavy game changer, enough material to make a ‘precious plastic myth buster’ video 🙂
i know you’re tired same as me of all this but please step back for a moment and try to look at the v3 public page as a machinist, investor or any other long-term hand craft man. From what I see as machinist here is that somebody seriously doesn’t respect the process and it doesn’t take long to see that somebody tries to cut corners here. It’s almost like an insult to the profession and I am really tired of these half-wits on youtube make some stuff up, hacking things together leaving the impression it’s easy and a no-brainer. I think these kind videos make 80% of what’s on youtube when it comes to DIY. However, If you would fully unveil the entire magnitude and dimension of what’s involved (with just 10 lines), also the hidden and subtile but fatal things, you may also attract a little more quality people here, going after quantity didn’t help you much as far recognize.
just 2 my cents.
What a headache to read, not to mention a rude hijack. If you made a business mistake and don’t like the project why don’t you just leave instead of trolling it?
@stoli, since you response seems similar to some others here, let me translate it to those who got burned: ‘if you got harmed by our misleading information, please shut up, don’t tell anyone and please get lost’.
anyways, let’s drop this now for once and all, it’s all said: no real facts/numbers : no business plan.
I’m not offended, just trying to learn myself by going through the forums. I think the cost issue you bring up can be controlled on what exactly you want to do with this project. I think you can make a small system or elaborate one and spend plenty of money.
I’m also an engineer and machinist. I’ve built a shredder and extruder that costed me about 1k usd each to build using supplies in the Philippines. 3kw shredder is shredding about 90 bottles an hour with a small hole sieve. I believe could do more once I make a larger sieve. The cutter box stays full after a bit but it still eats bottles fine. How long it will last? I don’t know but I’m using a belt as my consumable. We shall see.
I just saw you are making a multi station machine. In my opinion I rather keep the machines separate because being a machinist the all in one machines usually don’t do a great job of a specific task, plus If it breaks everything is down. Then your workflow just stops until you an fix it.
Just my 002 🙂
here we go, nice numbers & darn good chips you’ve got there, happy to hear! of course, it makes a big difference you build this stuff for your shop, private activities. i’m facing much worst scenario, requiring almost 5-10 times of invest: end-user machines, per community/urbanization, also in a way it can be maintained and reproduced easily. i know it’s not on everyone’s plate here, but i’d appreciate if scope & scale issues are better treated and highlighted than it is now.
the dual machine, you might be right, it was more a cost/efficiency issue (one reducer/motor less as well 6 meter tubes, wirings,..). More likely in this client build the extruder will end up as mold injector, and the motor can still power 2-3 shredders. to me it’s also a nice challenge to think about lego like (and easy to dispose) components to recycle plastic, something i can offer outside my garage 🙂
i would love to see your belt variant, did you posted it in the forum already ? most clients i’ve met can’t effort the reducer, I’ve built a ring roller to make steel pulleys but had no evidence or motivation to actually try it out. to my calculations, i need 4 pulleys to get from standard 1500 down to 70.
@mod: sorry, the whole tread got lost & off-topic.
After talking to @siemenb on the phone a few weeks ago I have decided to release a rough draft of the Project Budget Calculator that is based off the excel my organisation uses to understand how much a project would cost.
Because its such a large topic on its own, I have decided to create another forum topic here.
Hope this helps someone.
Hey Hey Business People–
Has anyone thought of offering Shares in their local PP?
I know some well know products have started off that way (Hint– I’m using one of their products to write this 😉
Might be a way to pool resources, collect collaborators, and actually finance our dreams/machines. We could offer finished products, shares of plastic for them to do with what they please, or even money if we grow that much. I know in my community there are a lot more people interested in being a part of the solution who don’t necessarily have the time or energy to take on a leadership role– but they might have some resources to contribute to our cause– particularly if they will get a return on investment (eventually).
Of course I am also interested in more Out of the Box ideas– like including investors with the data of how much plastic we are keeping out of the landfill or ocean, how many local jobs and products are created in their community, and how much outreach we are doing with local schools and organizations.
Some of this has some crossover with Patreon, but I was thinking of more direct and community connected– more like shares.
Happy to hear any thoughts and ideas.
Keep up the great work team!
@leflora I like your idea.
For Recycle Rebuild the shareholders of our PP business are community members, but in the sense, we try and spread the wealth. Our profits are split by the cause, depending on the community. Savings, Education, Product Development, Community Cleanups/Events. So sadly we don’t aim to provide shares in the larger sense.
However, what we aim to do is provide $1 = 1kg of trash donation/investment. Not quite the same, but can provide investors with peace of mind.
I like your idea too 🙂
Because of the size of my community and its massive plastic consumption, which quickly ends up in the landfill (and a [realtively] small percentage in the streams, rivers, ocean, and no landfill land), I am feeling like we need to reach a critical mass quickly. A vast majority of my community will be in support of our efforts, but I need to take philosophical support and transmute it into physical/monetary support. Currently, most residents pay to have their weekly trash and recycling taken to the dump– obviously only reaching part of the community’s goals for its ‘trash’. I would like to displace/disrupt that system to divert all usable plastic into a community plastic banking system, from which a new local manufacturing economy can eventually grow– perhaps starting with making emergency shelter panels!
My community has several examples of sustainable practices, policies, and networks to learn from, but no exact template to follow. Hence, my posts ;P
For example–There is a local woman who started a community composting program where for $5 (US) she picks up compost once a week on her bike. She then composts the material at a local nonprofit (Homeless Garden Project) and participants can come to get finished compost for use on at home gardens.
I would like to emulate many of her successes, however, the scale of my communities plastic consumption, as well as the costs for equipment necessitate some different strategies.
Still in the brainstorming stage, but I want to make sure this venture is solvent. I don’t necessarily want to spend all(any?) my Precious time fundraising… I hope to create a symbiotic system (that pays for itself ha!) Looking for any ideas of how to turn philosophical support into sustainable support. Since people here are already paying to have their ‘trash’ taken away, seems like I might be able to get them to spend that money more wisely– aka on community Precious Plastic program!
Thanks for reading and being my sounding board 😀
I look forward to creating in collaboration with all of you <3
rorydickens — I would love that! Not sure when I will have the time/proper technical connection, but maybe you could email me at [email protected] to set something up? I am interested in ALL you do, but specifically, I am interested in your connection to the Rotary as we have a local chapter here I am thinking of connecting with. For years I had had the idea of ‘waffle ironing’ roof panels for post disasters and my heart is glowing knowing that you are out there working on this every day. Yay for all you do! Yay for Dave for bringing us all together and making each step towards a sustainable future look so doable!
Rock on! Super duper look forward to talking with you!
PS– I sent Anas from Indonesia your way as he(?) is currently trying to do something similar post-earthquake. So honored to be a part of this work with all of you.
I want to give you guys a (long overdue) update on what I’ve been up to the last few months. I’ve been gone for a while and a sh*tstorm has raged on this topic since then. I’m glad to see all that has cleared up a little bit.
While I started writing on the precious plastic manual and working on some kind of business calculator (big thanks to @rorydickens, you’re doing awesome work keep it up!) I realized I need hands-on experience with running a workspace if I was to give advice to other people running workspaces. At the same time I started a new job and a new studies focusing more on another sustainability question, energy and climate. Due to these two factors my work for precious plastic ended up in the back seat for a while and I focused more on other things.
Now that version 4 is being put together I’m really happy to see that my ideas are still taken seriously and someone will be working on making them a reality. I will be working together with Joseph to develop these ideas further and I’m really excited about this. I’m also very happy that he is able to take over from me since he has the time to fully dedicate and since he actually has experience in the waste management industry.
I want to thank you guys for continuing the discussion while I was gone, and thanks for being an awesome community!! You will hear from us soon
We are two french students at university having a business plan course. I had the pleasure to discover Precious Plastic when I was in Shanghai. Our project is to create a start-up where we would recycle plastic into objects and then sell them in a workshop in Paris. The idea is to raise awareness. We would also like to create activities for customers (can be team-building) to introduce people to plastic pollution and recycling. We would finance the project by crowdfunding.
I would be glad to give you the business plan at the end of the course (will be in May) to help you for version 4.
However we would appreciate if you have any advice to give us.
For now we don’t know how to handle the machines. If we should hire volunteers to build them with us or borrow them from other communities.
If you think about anything to add to the project to make it sustainable, let us know!
You must be logged in to reply to this topic.