Precious Plastic

When it comes to sustainability policy, Utrecht University (UU) and Hogeschool Utrecht (HU) have set concrete goals, including the aim to be zero waste by 2030. This is an ambitious target that will require a huge shift in behaviour from both institutions, including the 64000+ students and 10000+ employees that are tied to them.

With this target in mind, Hogeschool Utrecht and the Green Office of Utrecht University have put their minds together to create a pilot that works to meet these ambitions. Enter: Precious Plastic. Precious Plastic is a Dutch open source concept that enables organizations or groups to upcycle plastic streams using self-made machines. The machines of the UU and the HU will be in use starting from 2021.

Would you like to start a similar project, or learn more about all the steps? Scroll down to our list of blogs, outlining all the different phases of the project.

A visual guide to how certain plastic waste streams were dealt with (left), and how they will be addressed by Precious Plastic (right)

What is going to happen?

First, we plan to improve plastic collection across campus – especially PE plastic - by working together with study associations and university staff.

Next, an interdisciplinary group of Hogeschool Utrecht students will build new machines to deal with this shredded plastic and create valuable products from what would otherwise have been considered waste. These products will be sold on campus, creating a local and circular supply chain.

The Extruder Pro: the machine that will be built by Hogeschool Utrecht students

This project is partially being implemented by the Green Office of Utrecht University. The Green Office is where fresh hearts and minds come together to support Utrecht University's sustainable development.

The project is funded by Green Office UU, Green Office HU and Interreg TRANSFORM-CE (a European funding programme).

Stay in the loop with the Precious Plastic blog

Blog 1: The 'Why'

Learn about the 'why' behind the project, and the research carried out by UU students which made this project possible.

Blog 2: The cooperation

Learn about the cooperation between Utrecht University and Hogeschool Utrecht students and staff, and how we made it possible.

Blog 3: The machines

Learn about the process of building the Precious Plastic machine, and how Hogeschool Utrecht students are dealing with this puzzle.

Blog 4: The Product

Coming soon: Learn about how our product was designed, why we chose to only make specific products, and what their impact will be.