Precious Plastic Project Budget Calculator

Hey PP Community,

I have noticed a few people asking how much it would cost to set up their own PP workspace or project. To help with this I have created a full budget calculator for anyone who wants to find out how much it would cost to set up a project in your area.

This Gsheet document is based off something I used in my previous job as a Project Development Manager for a large international non-profit and is normally used for costing a school rebuild project or other construction projects, and loosely resembles what I currently use to budget my own charities projects.

The excel is sadly not simple but can be understood if you have a basic understanding of excel and only stick to editing the GREEN cells.

The document uses a Rate Card as its main sheet. If you are not very good at excel I recommend you start with this. By editing the prices (in the green cells) of the listed items and following the units closely the document will automatically tell you (in the other tabs) how much your project will cost.


**The rest of the document splits all of the items in the rate card into categories, such as Tools, Utilities, etc. The document is set up to provide a startup cost and a running cost.  If you only wish to understand your start up cost, change all of the weekly costs to “0”

The summary page does exactly as the title suggest however note the green cells allow you to calculate the length of your project and costs incurred through the payment of workers, utilities, maintenance and rent.


**For those of you setting up the workshop as a business, the income summary is set up to aid you in the cost calculation of products and the quantity required for profit on a monthly basis. Again edit only the green.

This excel includes lots of extras if you are wanting to set up anything other than a business. These extras raise the cost, and the cost is raised even higher due to the current location this budget is based on, do not be afraid of the high price tag of the summary.

This excel is also in its early phases (as an open source sheet) and may not be very friendly to everyone on this forum. If you have any questions please ask and I will try and answer or simplify the sheet.

I am also curious to know what tools/expenses the fully operational businesses have on their monthly budget. Do you hire more staff than in this budget, or do you have a wider range of tools to make your moulds? That feedback would be very beneficial to this document and my organisation.

The link to this document is below:


This is amazing!
Thank you for sharing – following this thread

Thanks @rorydickens and  @jaklatt for both of those tools.

It’s useful to have both a high level tool like  @jaklatt with projections and  @rorydickens with in depth costings.

Hi, thanks for the useful information!

Hey @jaklatt thanks for including us! We like it, but it doesn’t quite address some questions that we are often asked.

1. What is the cost of the machines if we build them locally? (Itemised calculator)
2. What tools do we need to repair/build the machines?

We love the simplicity of your calculator and a completed one from one of the major PP businesses would be interesting I think for many future PP community members!


Hey @Rorydickens !

I just saw this post with your budget calculator. Awesome stuff. Me and some others have been working on a somewhat similar document as part of the Precious Plastic V4 “business plan”. Have you seen it? We would love to hear your feedback !

Here’s a link to it:

Hey everyone, thanks for the discussion.

Wondering if anyone is willing to share an itemized budget for a workshop start-up costs? I understand the costs of many items vary dramatically based on locale, but I am trying to get a comprehensive idea on what all is needed to get a workshop up & running. There are lots of comments throughout the forum of how much a machine build is, but not too much info on how one gets to that total cost. I’m looking for some detail!

Thanks all! If you’re willing to share, please DM & I can provide my direct email.

there is a neat group on facebook, if you look at the content you will realize quick that you’re better equipped good enough 🙂 especially if you want to do that in your garage, in a non-professional/industrial context.

sure, context really matters. from what i realized when building those PP machines is it’s just a tiny beginning when entering plastic recycling per se, basically a taste maker. There is soo much more to do and build if you are up for real products. I can’t think really how all those experiments and new machines like a semi automatic pneumatic injection machine can be done without, except budget is not an issue (such machine is easily over 5k). basically, every new product/idea needs a complete different & new machine. Needless to say, but building larger and bigger machines is absolute essential if you want to recycle in mass.So in short, the PP machines are just the tip of the iceberg and it’s like in any production hall, there is at least a lathe and a mill around, always. I am visiting soon more factories who do plastic stuff and i hope i have some pictures for you guys 🙂 but here some at least :desktop size machine :

another injection machine on our list (the one we try to get as module system for the PP community by Nov.) : DIY injection molding how-to - YouTube

From our experiences with machine building and recycling, purchasing a lathe is a little overkill. The only time we really need one is for making the hex bar, however, we work with local machinists and they sell them to us for about 30euro.

What I do agree on is the purchase of a CNC Router, we have found the Shapeoko 3 XL/XXL perfect for our use in the occasional creation of moulds and post processing our products.  It’s not the best ever, but its a solid midlevel system that is easy to repair in developing countries. Setting us back $2000usd including router bits and shipping to the Carribean.

I guess this rate card is all about the scope of the project, if you want to be a machine builder and you are going to make a lot, then invest in these expensive machines, however, if you are instead trying to make a recycling/design space then a Mill, Aluminium Welder and Lathe are not essential for 90% of the projects.


@anne-barbier What do you weld that is aluminium?

a proper second hand lathe is at least 15k alone here in spain, 8k for a good mill, another 15k for a so lala CNC alone, I told you, it’s very optimistic numbers. Did I mention the welder ? It’s at least 6k to get a good one, good enough to deal with most: aluminum, stainless

If you get this cheaper than this, let me know, I am happy to move there 😉

sure, if you want to stay in the playground like many here, than ok, you could deal with less but if it comes to feed a family, and you employees, than you better have 50-100K around, sorry, you are making your self a fool to go for less.



Let me break down your insane message one exaggeration at a time.

15,000EURO To Set Up Shop

This is just ludicrous, most people do not need to buy a Lathe and Mill. Most lathe services are available locally and don’t require the investment. Get someone else to do it and save your time.

Our real-world price for this is around 6000euro, including a nice CNC and a full set of machines, plus all the tools you would ever need.

I quote in your own post you even wrote

“All the machines are rather an assembly of expensive parts, always done with the same tools : angle-grinder (30 E), drill-press (250 E) and a welder (50E second hand). In 1-2 days only you will see how it works! You won’t regret the invest since you will need them anyway as soon your follow up ideas will take shape.”

15,000EURO to Build Machines

Dude, Seriously? Even in your own posts, you mention that the machines shouldn’t cost more than 500-1000euro a machine. Let me quote:

“Often you see prices like 1700 Euro for an injection machine [on the bazar_], whilst it’s only 100-200 Euros for the materials, and 1-2 days for_ labor_. “_

Our real-world prices for the machines is 2400euro for a full set, and like I said it was included in the 6000 euro above.

12,000EURO for Labour.

Maybe this is correct for central Europe, however, this doesn’t apply globally, wages and costs of living change hugely from one country to the next. That’s why we can sell handmade tshirts in Europe for 10euro. The minimum wage (that a lot of people live on) in the Philippines 400php a day. That’s 6.40euro a day. Let’s say we doubled their salary to 12euro a day, 6-day work week. For one month is 313.20euro.

This means for your 2000 euro, we could hire 6 staff to work in the space, not one.

1000E Rent

For rent I can make the same point as above, every country is different. Also like we have seen people put this in a small garage or other small space.


I think you missed the point of this document, and again as I have seen on many of your other posts throughout the forum, you go straight to blind attacking mode instead of creative development and improvement.

The point of this document is to allow other potential PP builders and designers with the right tool that includes all the potential costs for their project scope. It is intended for use in ANY country, and will hopefully display the financial investment involved based on that country.

From my work around the world, and also from what I have seen on these forums. The plastic problem is a global issue. Euro has a well-established system, however, parts of the developing world do not. It is in those locations PP is best suited, and is developed to create a new sustainable economy in waste management where there is none.


Large industrial machines shipped from China do not suit these allocations, if broken, they are expensive to repair and the parts are not easily sourced. However, PP tries to tackle this issue by using easier to obtain parts and simple methods of repair. I support this approach and so do a lot of people. Maybe you don’t agree, however you are outnumbered on this forum.



hello from Catalonia – Europe,

I looked at your tables but realized it’s not really suited for the reality I know when doing a PP workspace (whatever this means) per-se since it takes a lot of time to to create some significant revenue. Worst, with the PP machines as they are you are pretty much going nowhere (they are ok for hobbyist use, and still a PITA), so all the investments someone did are for nothing when it comes to have reliable and power machines to build a product.

So even if you have some machines and facilities to create good plastic chips, ready to be injected or extruded. It takes at least 2-3 times of the machine building process itself to design, network and market a product. I am talking here 6-12 months full-time. And during that time you need to acquire extra machines and supplies !

In numbers (very optimistic), here in Europe :

15000 Euro to set up the needed machine shop (Lathe, Mill, CNC, hand & power tools = basic tools). Easily 2-3 months to get a handle on all that, basic skills only.

After that you have a shop, now you can start building the machines to recycle plastic. It’s going to be another 15000 Euro to be spent, over 4-6 months. At this point, one has the basic skills, molds and experience.

Since it requires full time for one person just to get a basic shop up and running. You would need somebody else who does research, experiments, product design and networking (another 3-6 months).

With a min. income for 2000 Euro, the month, it’s 12000 for 6 months, just to pay the bills, but no travel, insurance and very little for life or extras. It’s actually insane to life like this, you better have the double, assuming you also have to feed a family….

i didn’t mention rent, extra insurance,…yet. Here in Europe, it’s easily 1000E to have a proper space, per month. Another 500 min. insurance for the place. Very often, you also need to invest in the place when entering, …

That of course only applies when you want to go small – scale business and you want to make sure you don’t shoot your self in the foot by cutting corners here and there.

kind regards,

For those interested in the Rate Card, and the business start-up assessment I have started an additional topic relating to “Preliminary Assessments and Rate Card” here.

I completely agree with your suggestion about creating regional costs, but first I feel to get there the rate card needs to have a good broad spectrum of items that most PP workshops need to set up. Are there any items in my rate card example that are missing but in your experience is crucial for your set up?

Personally, I found the need for a Jigsaw to be something I never expected and a belt sander.

Our Team has all costs on Excel file, so we can calculate aproximate final costs. But I should translate it to English, and you should understand that it is our local sittuation (price).

I would like to propose you to make an excel file with some formulas in two parts:


– 1 part – needs to be completed with data (local cost of some materials, electro motors, electrisity etc)
– 2 part – approximate volume of materials and resources needed, multipled on prices from Part 1.
So we will have an adaptable instrument fo each country.

P.S. We also can make a list with aproximate prices for different regions (for example: EU area, ex-soviet Countries, Asia, Africa etc). So people will be able to use these prices if they don’t know the price of the concrete element/material.

What do you think?

P.S. Join our discussion about PET bottles extrusion! –

Extremely thorough spreadsheet. Thanks for sharing 🙂