In a workshop in downtown Chang Mai, Thailand, designers turn plastic trash–mostly plastic bags they collect from the street–into marble-like coasters and tabletops. In a maker space in Lviv, Ukraine, designers use DIY equipment hacked from old industrial parts and a shopping cart to recycle plastic trash into bowls. In Seoul, designers use a mobile plastic recycling cart for education.
The majority of the 300 million tons of plastic produced every year isn’t recycled, and recycling that does happen typically happens at an industrial scale in factories using equipment that can cost tens of thousands of dollars. But a growing number of designers are using a set of open-source, easy-to-build tools to recycle plastic and manufacture new plastic products on their own.
One set of instructions explains how to build a low-cost machine that shreds plastic into flakes. Another modular machine extrudes plastic that can be used for 3D printing; an injection machine and a compression machine can form plastic into molds. A series of videos explain how to build the machines using basic materials and universal parts.