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Dec 30, 2020

2020 year review

Let's take a look at 2020 and how it was for One Army, Precious Plastic and Project Kamp.

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This article is part of One Army, an organisation creating projects tackling global problems. You can learn more

How was our 2020? Well, kind of abnormal wasn't it? We’ve seen quite some drama in the world, lives changed, business canceled, systems disrupted. It shows how fragile our society can be. But it also shows how agile we can be. Solutions rapidly popping up, lifestyles changing overnight, flights reduced. It gave a sense of power, that the world can be changed within a few months. If we really set our minds to it. Also for us it came with quite a few ups and downs, challenges we didn’t plan for. Here is our year in review.


We kicked off 2020 with the release of Precious Plastic Version 4. Tons of work went into it. And money. And time. And most importantly love. Reception was.. meh. Quite some people shared, few wrote about it. But it stayed within our community rather than reaching larger audiences. But it’s ok, steady growth over hype. 

Lots of plastic items displayed orderly in colour code
Precious Plastic Version 4


By mid February we had already secured multiple exciting projects with organisations and partners to push plastic recycling while securing a minimum salary for the newly established Precious Plastic team (8).


Then it was covid. Dave got stuck in Bangladesh. Mattia in India. All projects got cancelled. And the dream of a minimum salary was again postponed. Still not there. But you could help, join Patreon :)

While covid was raging, the Precious Plastic community showed the power of a distributed network of independent players when the global economy comes to an alt. Many workspaces quickly got hard at work to create necessary PPE that was becoming scarce. Learn how the Precious Plastic community tackled the pandemic. 

man wearing a recycled face shield
Recycled Face shields


While covid was exploding around the world, its bad brother Chromium 6 was discovered in some old paint used in our workspace (in the 50s you know?). And that’s how in the middle of it all we had to move out of our workspace and sell everything. 


Precious Plastic had to quickly pivot its strategy to make sure we could even have a team to run and manage the project. That’s how by the end of May we designed and launched a purchasable version of the starterkits to help more people start recycling, support Precious Plastic Machines Shops as we would work with them to produce the machines, get a few bucks in to pay for the team and push Precious Plastic development further. 


After a year in the making we released the first ever Precious Plastic Global Impact Survey where we tried to paint an accurate picture of the impact Precious Plastic and its community are having around the world.  


By the end of July Precious Plastic moved to France (temporarily) at Yann’s workspace near Nantes. Nice and cozy workspace from where we could build starterkits and continue the ongoing maintenance work for Precious Plastic. 

Meanwhile Precious Plastic carabiners are used and replicated around the world to spread the message of Precious Plastic. Carabiners were spotted in Russia, Switzerland, dunno, France, Italy and many more from all corners of planet earth.    

blue recycled carabiners
Precious Plastic Carabiners


Finally after a 2 years long search we bought a piece of land in portugal to start Project Kamp. Let the fun begin!

Meanwhile, people around the world start to build the sheetpress system. Recycle lab, PlaatjesMakers (Mark and Thomas from V4) and Fiction Factory amongst many others. Very very exciting. 


People also started to create incredibly useful How-tos to show people in the community how they approach recycling and what kind of processes they use. Amongst our favourites are How to make an HDPE knife by Brothers Make, Collecting plastic in Arugam Bay by Wasteless bay and Injection Face-shield by Plastipreneur.

We also released the Project Kamp academy with the first research videos in Auroville (India) and Tamera (Portugal)

...and our Patrons helped us choose the new One Army logo!


Jason (Precious Plastic team) ran an independent kickstarter campaign to get his recycled skateboard project off the ground and pay for the mould and production costs. Unfortunately he didn’t reach his goal :(

While Re=comb made it all over the fashion world and all the way to Vogue with their high-end recycled comb produced by Precious Plastic Lancaster.

model using a recycled comb
Re=comb in action


November is notoriously a dead month. The Precious Plastic core team worked hard to deliver the first starterkits in France while both Dave & Mattia drove to Portugal to begin the new Project Kamp adventure. 


As you might have heard, after years of work on Dec 4th we’ve released One Army :) Hope you enjoy it so far!

A few days ago, right before Christmas we shipped the first starterkits to clients around the world ready to recycle plastic and set up recycling businesses. And pay our rents :) 

Plus, end of the year cherry on the cake we just had our 100.000th Precious Plastic starterkit download, great way to end the year!

3 men holding colourful recycled sheets
Jason, Michael and Yann proudly holding new recycled sheets

That’s it.
A by-no-means-complete selection of what happened in the One Army world in 2020. All in all it was a positive year, we have learned greatly while pivoting to adjust to global events, these learning are finding their ways into how-tos for the community in the beginning of the new year and have managed to establish a strong Precious Plastic team that is focusing full time on pushing plastic recycling. Big achievement for us. We're keen to see what 2021 has planned for Precious Plastic.

What was your highlight? What did we miss? Let us know in the comments. 

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Take a moment and reflect about your year. Now think how you can make the year ahead even better and more sustainable.