Thursday, August 16, 2018

Introduction to Praxis Plastics


In addition to my almost ten year old illustration business I am continually dreaming up new projects to complete. The latest one is also possibly the most complex and involved yet. As part of my master's thesis project in Sustainable Communities at Northern Arizona University, I am building a small plastic recycling workshop in my garage.

I am constructing a shredder and compression machine from Precious Plastic, a Dutch organization headed by Dave Hakkens, which offers open-source plans for four plastic recycling machines. These will be built off Version 3 plans.

After researching the process for building these I realized the cost is very high- $2000 or more for a turnkey shredder! This is partially because the machines are designed to be built from scratch on location anywhere in the world. While this is great for people with access to a machine shop, it does mean that those ordering these laser cut parts from a business end up paying a pretty penny.

What I am trying to do is reduce the cost of Precious Plastic machines by building as many steel shredder pieces as possible out of recycled plastic. This is to develop a more affordable shredder that will use fewer expensive virgin materials, instead transforming a former waste stream (used plastic) into a valuable product that will enable more people to recycle more plastic for less money. They will then be able to make their own products, bringing money and skill into their communities.

I received a generous $5000 grant from the NAU Center for Ecosystem Science and Society (ECOSS) that is funding the construction of my first two machines- a pedal-powered shredder and a compression machine. So far I have ordered a shredder from Precious Plastic USA in Portland, Oregon. I have purchased a used oven from Habitat for Humanity and have ordered controller parts for the oven. I have also sourced two free exercise bikes for the shredder mechanism and have diverted several used bed frames from the landfill, which will be transformed into cheap, zero-waste tables for these machines!

I call this project Praxis Plastics. This page of my website is dedicated to this thesis project and whatever comes out of it. I plan to document any work completed here to aid my memory, act as outreach, and to benefit of others who are embarking on similar projects. Please watch this space in the coming weeks and months!

1 comment:

  1. The information you've provided is useful because it provides a wealth of knowledge that will be highly beneficial to me. Thank you for sharing that. Keep up the good work. tire shredding