Students recycled plastic with self-built waste machines

The results of weeks of welding, cutting, painting, and assembling, as well as a shared passion: finding a solution for plastic waste.


Students at the University of Twente have developed Precious Plastic Recycling Machines by grinding up plastic waste with a shredder. They are going to present their invention at the DesignLab University of Twente.

Students did this by using a compressor and an oven; the plastic flakes are melted down in a matter of hours to create awesome, new, and useful products.

Lisanne de Weert, the project’s instigator, said, “Nothing can withstand the six-millimeter-thick blades when the 1.1 kW motor spins them around at sixty rotations per minute. I would not recommend sticking your hand inside.”

She supervised build sessions in the DesignLab workshops, collected material – second-hand if possible – and promoted the initiative among her fellow students and organizations. She said, “We are losing our connection to products. Useable, scarce resources in the wrong shape are seen as nothing more than waste.”

Lisanne de Weert, the project’s instigator
Lisanne de Weert, the project’s instigator

“As students, we recognize the value of this material. With these machines, you can move away from a linear production system. This not only helps us reduce our own ecological footprint, but it is also a step in the right direction towards global circular thinking.”

The end result of the project will be unveiled during the Precious Plastic Machines Opening on 13 March (20:00 – 23:00) in DesignLab. This project in DesignLab is part of the Precious Plastic initiative, a global community that works to counteract pollution caused by plastic waste. More information: Precious Plastic Machines Opening website.

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