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the precious plastics movement

Image by: Precious Plastic
Photo by: Precious Plastic

Author: Nathalie Dulong

What's Precious Plastic and how can you join the movement? Bare Market blogger Nathalie Dulong tells us more about this inspiring project and how it's pushed her to change her behaviour when it comes to plastic consumption.

What's Precious About Plastic?

Have you ever heard the name Dave Hakkens? Well, neither had I until about 6 months ago. In that time, he has managed to change my entire outlook on plastic.

Dave Hakkens is a product designer from the Netherlands who started a movement, called Precious Plastic. Precious Plastic provides an open source, online platform to build DIY plastic upcycling machines. The machines shred, melt and then excavate plastic to create a new ‘precious’ material. Anything that you can make out of a mould you can now make from plastic waste–from coasters and sunglasses to household furniture! The platform allows people to connect with others in their local community and across the globe, sharing the projects they’re working on and templates for how others can do the same. Simply put, Precious Plastics is an accessible and open source platform for anyone and everyone looking to upcycle plastic… and it’s all completely free!

I was so inspired after learning about the idea, that I knew I needed to get involved right away. After connecting to the platform, I was able to join forces with a local Precious Plastics initiative to host a booth at the Run for the Oceans  on July 4 in Toronto. The event was organized as an effort to bring awareness to the amount of plastic being dumped in our oceans–which adds up to an entire garbage truck full. Yes you read that right… that’s a garbage truck full of plastic into our oceans every minute of EVERY SINGLE DAY.  

Because One Person’s Trash...

We spent the night before the event on a dumpster diving expedition in search of raw materials to mold engraved keychains for participants. Smells worse than it sounds IRL, but worth it in every way. The next day, as we handed the keychains out to participants and explained how they’d been made, I knew the “urban foraging” we’d done the night before had been worth it. I could relate very closely to the shocked and inspired look in many people’s eyes.

All in all, Precious Plastics brings awareness to the amount of plastic waste out there, but unlike many initiatives, it also offers constructive solutions to divert it from the landfill.

Image by: Nathalie Dulong
Image by: Nathalie Dulong 

Changing Behaviour Through Community

On the other hand, as much as I love this project, at the end of the day it’s still a reactive solution to waste reduction. Although upcycling (or creative reuse) is a great step to divert waste from the landfill, it is important to also focus on reducing the amount of waste created in the first place.  

This really got me thinking, “how can I start reducing the waste in my life right now?”

With this new awareness,  I quickly realized how easy it was to make small changes to my daily routine–saying no to a straw, carrying a reusable bag in my purse and switching to a reusable water bottle. Even more so, it’s been truly heartwarming to meet and share stories with many like-minded people who are also on this same journey.  

Although it may seem small, creating awareness, sparking discussions and making simple changes are all impactful steps towards a less wasteful and consumption obsessed society.  And, these small behaviour changes start to feel more achievable and powerful when you begin connecting to all of the amazing people and initiatives (like Bare Market!) in the local community that are working towards this same goal.


About the Author: Nathalie Dulong is a BBA graduate, citizen of the world and lover of all things mother nature has to offer. She is excited to be collaborating with Bare Market as she’s a big proponent of package-free, local products and the zero waste lifestyle. She is excited by the incredible people she’s met– including staff, volunteers and customers–while working with Bare Market and is excited to keep bringing awareness to this environmental movement!

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