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Jan 7, 2020

Version 4 Release – A Big Bang for Plastic Recycling

A universe of solutions to fix the plastic waste problem and create a business from recycling plastic.

Version 4 poster displaying colourful plastic objects "a big bang for plastic recycling".
Version 4 Poster
This article is part of Precious Plastic, a One Army project tackling the plastic waste problem. You can learn more

It’s finally here! The release of Precious Plastic version 4.

It took 16 months, 300.000 euro, over 100 volunteers, 35.000 vegan meals, and about 1.000 chocolate bars, but we made it. Huge thanks to all those who contributed to this massive undertaking 💪

bunch of people playing around with version 4 machines utensils and products
Version 4 crew on November of 2019.

A Big Bang for plastic recycling

It’s 2020 now – that’s right, the year of the future. The future is here, but it ain’t that bright for the plastic waste problem. People nowadays are more aware of the plastic waste problem, but plastic production keeps going up and still, only around 9% of plastic gets recycled worldwide 😱

While Precious Plastic has been around for 6 years, Version 4 feels a lot like a new beginning. A Big Bang. A new starting point taking the Precious Plastic impact to the next level. Finally, we have all the puzzle pieces together to offer a solution to the plastic waste problem.

With Version 4 we’re releasing the Precious Plastic Universe, a masterplan involving people at many levels with bigger machines, more tools, more techniques, digital platforms and business tools. Version 4 is really focused on helping people to start a business from plastic waste and recycle plastic full time. If people can make money recycling, they would do it more and recycle more plastic. Kind of simple 🙃

Here’s an overview of what you can find in the release 👇

Recycling Spaces

Over the years we noticed that the workspaces that focus on one machine or process tend to be the most successful. Makes sense right? The more you do something, the better you get at it. That’s why we built Version 4 around this simple concept and decided to split the Precious Plastic ecosystem into different recycling spaces focusing on one single aspect of the recycling system.

The different recycling spaces are:
Workspaces (Shredder, Extrusion, Sheetpress, Injection and Mix)
Collection Points
Community Points
Machine Shops


For each recycling space we’ve created what we call, the starterkits. Packages of information that contains everything you need to start a recycling space including video tutorials, how-tos, blueprints, 3D files, business tools, manuals, graphic material and much, much more.
People can choose the recycling space that suits them best, pick a starterkit and begin their journey into local plastic recycling.

boxes representing starterkits
Workspace, Machine Shop, Community Point & Collection Point starterkits. Download them and start your business.

We imagine these recycling spaces to work together and support one another on a small scale, creating a local Precious Plastic network. These local networks stay globally connected through our digital tools, and together form the Precious Plastic Universe, our alternative system for plastic recycling. A system that values this precious material and the people behind it.

Drawing of a Precious Plastic Network
Local Precious Plastic Network. Organizations, people, different workspaces, plastic Collection Points, all connected.


With version 4 we are releasing three new machines – the Shredder Pro, Extruder Pro, and Sheetpress. All are what we call “semi-industrial”, allowing people to process much more material than the previous version. All these machines are designed just as previous ones – accessible materials, modular, well documented, and user-friendly. Each machine took lots of iterations and development- we’re pretty happy with the results 🙂

Precious Plastic Extrusion machine with some extruded bricks and beams
Precious Plastic Version 4 Extrusion machine.
Precious Plastic Version 4 Sheetpress and recycled sheets
Precious Plastic Version 4 Sheetpress machine.


People around the world are already designing and producing products using Precious Plastic machines. Most of these products are smaller household items, but we wanted to push the boundaries of recycled plastic for Version 4. One thing we focused on was creating raw materials like sheets and beams that could then be made into other products.

Colorful plastic recycled tiles with different patterns
Plastic Recycled tiles with different patterns.
colorful beams with different patterns

People can use these materials to make bigger items like stools, chairs, tables, and shelves. Beautiful products and techniques unlocking a world of opportunities. All of these products have a step by step How-to (you can read more about what that is below) so you can start making these products yourself.

pink bench made of recycled polypropylene
V4 Bench made from recycled Polypropelene.
grey pattern stool
V4 Stool.

Community Platform

One of the biggest achievements from version 4 was designing and coding our own platform for the Precious Plastic community, which we call, the Community Platform. Huge thanks to the in-house and remote developers that worked on this. It was quite a complex one 😜

This platform has four main parts: How-to, Events, Map and the Academy.

The How-to is a tool to allow people to create step by step guides on how they tackle the plastic waste problem. Technique, hacks, moulds and more. Opening up the creation of knowledge to our community. We see this as valuable long term information for the Precious Plastic community. Our core team created a bunch of how-tos for Version 4, but now workspaces and people around the community can add to the Precious Plastic knowledge base. Expanding the recycling know-how.

The events page lists all types of Precious Plastic events, demonstrations and presentations around the world so people can meet and connect locally.

The map shows pins all over the world of different Precious Plastic Workspaces, Community Points, Collection Points, and Machine Shops so people can easily find them and start to build their local network.  

The Academy is the central place for Precious Plastic knowledge. That’s where you’ll find video tutorials, tips, drawings and much more on topics like plastic, machines, product design, business and so on. This is where we go nerdy 🤘

How-To Interface
The How-To Interface. Upload yours and learn from the Community!
Map Interface
Use the map to spot your potential network and see what people is doing around the globe.

Research Projects

During version 4 we had two research projects looking into long term issues within the plastic waste problem. The first project was robotics, which looked into ways that we can use robots to help sorting plastic. Sorting is one of the most difficult things about plastic recycling – it’s costly, time-intensive, difficult, and underdeveloped. That’s why we looked into how robots could help us 🤖

The project was pretty experimental but was the first step towards looking into how we can optimize our recycling process.

Robot sorting plastic
Version 4 Robot Research Project.

We also know that plastic recycling is not the ultimate solution to the plastic waste problem. That’s why we launched the beyond plastic research project to look into replacing single-use plastic with biodegradable materials. We ended up designing a machine and several products (bowls, cups, tiles) out of our kitchen waste and food scraps from nearby cafes. Wheat bran, orange peels, and coffee grounds were three of the most successful materials. It’s just the beginning, but we really made some strong strides towards developing a whole system around collecting and processing organic waste – just like we do with plastic.

Excited to see where this will go 😍

And lastly, we want to thank YOU, the Precious Plastic community. Without your support, we wouldn’t be where we are today. Looking forward to hearing your reactions to what we developed over the last year and helping us grow the community even more.

volunteers cheering up
See ya!

Watch the full 30 popcorn minute V4 launch video here:

Watch the 2 minute  Youtube generation video here:

Anddd make sure to check out the new website here:

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Uff, that was a ride. Hope you enjoy! We put all our hearts and brains into it. Now, to fully absorb all the new knowledge give yourself some time and focus to dive into all the links and resources of the above article.