UK project to build and run PPv3 (container)

Hi all,

I couldn’t sleep last night thinking about how we could realise the Precious Plastic v3 in the UK and I want to see first how many people would be interested in helping! 🙂

Let’s say there’s around 100 people who expressed interest and are in the Precious Plastic map in the UK, that’s not too bad.

I’ll start thinking about writing a business plan, but the general idea that I got is:
Concept: To build and run a mobile workshop (in a shipping container similar to PP or why not in a double decker, to make it more british), with shredders, filament maker, extruder, injection moulding machines and also a 3d printer. An area to collect, sort and wash plastics and an area to sell products. The mobile workshop would spend 1-2 months in a place and move to another city or part of the country. It would interest environmentalists (recycle plastic yourself and create products), beach cleaners (#2minuteBeachClean), makers and artists (make a product yourself, sell it, featured artists), kids and general public (offering tours of the microfactory, talks, school trips), local councils (we’d employ local people), etc. I envision it as being a hybrid between for- and not-for-profit, what I call not-only-for-profit. We may or may not be profitable, we’d pay everyone working for us minimum wage, being the environmental and social impact the most important value over the money. At the same time we’d rely on donations and volunteers.

Finance: I’ll make a budget for the startup costs, let’s say it’s between £10-15k, that’s not a lot, very manageable. We can crowdfund it, find investors, ask suppliers for discounts in exchange of promotion, get a loan, ask recycling NGOs for funding, there must also be some startup credits by the government or the EU, if we make a good case for how much social and environmental value there’s here I think we can do it 🙂
For the running costs, we can crowdfund it via patreon or regular donations, ask the local council where the workspace is going to be located for the time being (say one month we bring it to London, another month to Brighton, another month to Bristol, etc. In each place, request to the local council a space to park the container/bus, access to water/electricity which they pay, and also £1-2k for the month, which will be directly spent on wages for local people who’d be working on the workspace, so it’s a reinvestment in their own city), and also would be funded by sales of the products made from plastic.

My contribution: I’m really exciting about starting this up! I’m an engineer and I build machines so I control the technical aspect. I’m creative at coming up with technical ideas and how to make this concept possible and I could find partnerships and funding options, pitch, business plan… However I don’t know what products to make or how to make cool things that sell well, so I need some artists on board and people who understands money, if that makes sense. Someone to run it, organize where the workshop is touring and someone to physically work on it. All these could be done by a couple of people on a payroll or many people volunteering a couple of hours a week.

Anyway, for now that’s my idea, let me know what you think 🙂
For now let’s see who’d be interested in taking part, in any way, so: calling all UK PP community members!



@andyn @happenstanceworkshop @emric @saminstmartin @kettlekekkers @dcjrelph @whitearsm @tnt1 @micky @dauntless @jordanwatson @plastics2fuel @h-an-na-h @fabs @birdynamnam

and many, many many others…

Im all in with this one. I love the idea of going mobile with it and making the public more aware about how serious recycling is and that we have to start making a difference. I watched a program on Itv last night about plastic recycling in the UK and the amount of waste goes into landfill. I was surprised. People in the UK loves to recycle but there are many obstacles and things people aren’t aware of. Although they are happy to recycle, and so am i, but the things we recycle arent always recyclable.

I think with this idea we can go mobile and teach the public and especially kids in schools more about proper recycling for the future. If i had the funding i would definitely go around the cities and spread the word, but i had a look at pins on the maps and i only have 5 people in a 50mile radius around me, so it’s a bit hard to work together.

I’m based in the new forest in the UK and would love to start a movement over here. On the other hand i need to build my machines like a shredder, extruder etc etc and i just dont have the funds for it. Any idea how i can get some funding for this except for asking the banking sharks to give me some money. I know there is a huge market in the UK for recycling and any project to help the environment would be smiled upon, but i just wish i had Teresa May’s phone number as i’m sure she would support my funding lol.

Please get in touch with me if you have any ideas or would like to start a project in the south of the UK. I have loads of ideas for great products to make and sell using plastic. I’m a graphic Designer and can also do some 3D product design.

Waiting to hear from you 🙂

Hey everyone ! Thanks a lot for the feedback and the new supporters coming along!

As I want to keep you in the loop, here’s an update on the ‘plasticBUSters’ project.

A first draft of the project concept was shared and with the feedback received it looks like getting a bus would be difficult and a big liability to start with, so a much affordable and softer way to launch this is being explored: no need for a vehicle or permanent workshop. A gazebo to ‘set up camp’ in a public space or panels and counters to set it indoors in rented venues like community halls and similar. Even the machines can be rented initially to make this project cheaper to start with.

Anyway, please click here ( to have a look at the brochure we’ve prepared and feel free to give us any feedback. If you’d like to help, you’re more than welcome to share it with whoever you think might find it interesting, but more importantly if you have any contacts in councils, organizations, CICs, museums, makerspaces, art schools, etc. Getting their feedback is essential now to know if there’s demand for such a project. If you share it you can keep track of who’s been contacted in our google doc ( on the tab ‘external contacts’. Please find below the text I’ve been using, feel free to copy or write your own.

“Hello there xxxxxxxxxxx,

I have a project proposal for a national campaign that I’d like to share with you to see if it’s interesting and hopefully get your support.

We are a group of entrepreneurs, artists and above all, environmentalists that have come up with this project for a mobile plastic recycling workshop in the UK, a social enterprise whose goal is to educate people about the problem of plastics, the recycling process and how to make useful things and crafts out of them.

We are finalising the business plan, but wanted to share with you this executive summary that explains the concept. If you could have a look and give us any kind of feedback that’d be very welcome. Please click in the link below:


Feel free to contact me with any questions”

If you don’t share it that’s okay, only if you can spare a minute and want to help ! No worries !

More developments coming soon !!

Hi everyone – and thanks for starting this thread Javier. Myself and a few others have recently been looking into setting up a semi-permanent PP factory in Norwich, when we stumbled upon this. Would be great to share ideas.

My personal background is in environmental management and campaigning, as well as event coordination. We also have several local designers and artists interested (and expect to get a lot more interest, as we start to spread the word).

Thanks! Matt


I would like to contribute to the project. I am based in Cambridge. We have nice Makespace here with some really cool machinery. I like building stuff myself,but I have mostly experience with electronics. I can do simple 2D drawings or 3D models.


Hello there Javier and everyone

I’m new to this community and excited to see it here. I’ve been anti-plastic for years, I’m involved in the festival world, an artist, welder, fabricator, have taught art workshops with kids in US and UK, have worked collaboratively on some really big projects with lots of volunteers. I love working collaboratively and have been active in makerspaces and hackspaces in US and UK since 2006. I move around a lot as I have been living in my van for several years.

I’m interested in working with you on this project.

I’ve had container workshops before and believe they are the way to go. It has been my dream to set up a mobile container workshop that could travel and deliver workshops. This was always going to be a metal workshop, teaching basic metal skills but I’m excited about the plastic recycling idea as a way of spreading knowledge, understanding and being an important part of the conversation in communities where it needs to be an everyday conversation. Basically everywhere on the planet!

I’m currently out the UK but will be back in a month and can be part of the conversation remotely. Please add me to the google doc so I can follow the conversation.

Street power won’t be a problem. Councils will be able to provide a decent power hook up for whatever is required. If it is in a field at a festival the festival org will have the hook up. Glastonbury isn’t on this year but there is Boomtown in August.

Gazebos are terrible things! They blow over and break if someone sneezes next to them. What about a garden shed, a play on the maker thing. Cheap as chips to build, possible to make in a modular form and easy enough to move around in a van for an early test version.

I found you because this seems like a project I would set up with some friends who work in the festival world. I love the idea of touring around with something like this and doing workshops along the way.

Thanks for getting this started.


Pop up gazebo sounds good and cost-effective solution for a pilot project or to begin with.

Considering the lack of funds and interests of councils and other parties, maybe the PP UK project should start small an focus on crowdfunding a little towards a first event/festival to start with.
Glastonbury would be great!:slight_smile:
they are so hot on being eco-friendly maybe they would be willing to give away a free pitch for a project like this.
But there are plenty of other festivals to choose from.

Maybe instead of trying to get the attention of MPs and councils, it would be worth trying to start a conversation with people like Keep Britan TiDY or Surfers Against Sewage. These organizations focus solely on the litter pollution and are so well known if we got them to endorse this project would be great.
I read that Keep Britan Tidy are working on a project which involves making body boards with recycled plastic to be used to collect plastic floating in the sea.

Hey @plasticdream ! Get in touch with @ziggyaustin and @rubear they are somewhat close to you, they also want to start workshops so if you join forces you’ll be better off. If you need help with the machines let me know, I’m a machine builder.

If you have experience delivering art workshops in schools that’s really really interesting as we’ve been looking for someone with that profile

Hi @spin thanks!

Everyone: we’ve prepared a small brochure that we’ve been sharing with potential partners, but for now the main players (government, mps, RecycleNow, WRAP…) have been hard to reach. Some feedback we’ve got includes that the councils don’t have money to spend so will need to find a way of making this possible and pay for itself. Doing it with a bus would be a big challenge as it’s a big liability owning the bus, converting it, driving it around, licenses, parking, etc. A much simpler way to start this out will be to own the machines (or even just rent them) and have a gazebo or ‘set up camp’ wherever we go, public space, street market, hired community centre or similar venue like a pop-up event. Will keep sharing this with more feedback gathered and finalising the business plan and then look for funding…

This hasn’t been made real yet and i’m already thinking of the next big step: do it internationally !!! Get a container like the one in the precious plastic v3 videos, fill it with machines, maybe a bit more heavy duty, and deploy the container in places where there’s a massive plastic problem ! on a hire/rental basis it would work out for people that say that the investment on the machines is too high… anyway, one step at a time… (what do you think @davehakkens ?)

I’d love to help with any spatial layout work if required. I’m good with 2D and 3D CAD design. I am studying interior architecture and design so I’m pretty good at designing good layouts that function well etc

Hi @javierrivera
I only very recently joined Precious Plastic and I am planning to set a workspace soon.
I am based in Cornwall.
I not sure my pin is visible on the map yet, I need to check my settings.
I like the project and I am interested in getting involved.
I have experience in delivering art workshops in schools and community settings so I could help with that side of things. 🙂

Hi, I work with a solar farm installer in Australia, he has a home base and takes containers to set up the installations. “Red Mud Green Energy” so a home base is a must for co-ordination and start-up. I also like the mobile idea and how the energy consumption problem needs to be solved. I suggest with starting a co-op to build the momentum, something I am working on in Melbourne Australia. Cheers.

Ahhh this is the original post @javierrivera Got it. Well you know I’m 100% interested. Just the practical logistics of some many bodies different parts of the country.

Happy though to launch this at the Eco Living Festival in September!


Hi, I would like to partecipate, unfortunately I have low resource and I have to figure it out how to do it. I have a lot af tools to help build machine and technical skills, in add I have a lot of ideas abouit what to do with recycled plastic that can give us the money we need and add other social project regarding enviroments, if you want we can speack about it. Currently I’m living in Perú but in March I will come back to Italy.

Hi! I’m keen to be involved – especially helping on developing some of the machines. Is anyone based in London? I think I’m going to start on making the shredder in East London from January…

Super,we would hope to already have a work shop set up here by that sage. Although it would be something more basic to start, so we would very much welcome you visiting to see the possibilities. I am in the process of applying for funding to start up our project, but I am having difficulties working out a business plan, forward profit projection etc. if you have any advice about this it would be very much appreciated.

Doing up something like this would be cool!! And cheap.

Doing up something like this would be cool!! And cheap.

Thanks @joandarcy, ideally yes… I know these very remote areas are not very accessible but should be doable

Another idea we got is that the portable workshop would serve as a mobile showroom, so that if we drive it up to the highlands and your community likes it, has seen it and tried it and learn how it works, we can tell them, okay if you want to set up a permanent workshop here like this one it would cost you £X, and we can help

if you contact Jon Dawes from kinning park complex in glasgow you may be able to visit their workshop, I built a shredder for them

Great idea, but I wonder if you would reach up to the Highlands in Scotland (I am based in the very North West corner)? I think it would work really well up here, and we definitely give our support.