You might think it has been a bit quiet around the Perpetual Plastic team, or PPP in short, but actually we are going harder than ever! With PPP, we already showed the world that you can recycle waste plastics for 3D-printing, but we really wanted to upscale the process to make a real and sustainable impact in the 3D printing world.

When you think big, you have to act big! That’s how we came up with Refil; our own line of high quality 3D-printer filaments made from recycled dashboards and PET bottles. Since the product launch last spring, makers and companies in The Netherlands, Belgium and Germany can make everything they create a fully recycled product.

Casper, Refils project manager says: “Even the spools themselves are made from recycled cardboard - which can enter normal waste streams - to fully underline our vision of making the third industrial revolution a sustainable one.”

Big visions demand many hands, and the last 3 years we had many!

Without them, we would never managed to :

  • get 4 nominations (Maker of Merit) at the MakerFaire Rome in 2013
  • win ‘Best project’ and ‘Environmental education’ at the Mini MakerFaire in Trieste, Italy
  • win ‘Best innovation in materials for 3D-printing’  at  IDTechEx 2015
  • showcase Refil at Maker Faire San Francisco


Meanwhile we naturally continue improving our machine, using the input of visitors of PPP. For instance, people asked us frequently if their plastic can be recycled for 3D-printing.

That’s why we recently have developed a plastic identification and separation tool for events, to educate about different kinds of plastic. We will soon add this educational tool to our installation. Read more about some tests we did before in our blog post: Plastic identification & seperation.


Spread the love

Our goal is to spread awareness about the possibilities of plastics recycling. PPP inspires people to look at waste plastics in a new way and see opportunities instead of difficulties.

It all started at Lowlands Festival 2012, the biggest festival of the Netherlands with 60.000 visitors, where we got the chance to showcase our Perpetual Plastic Project. The project was received enthusiastically and was put on showcase afterwards during the 2012 Dutch Design week in Eindhoven for 10 days. The news spread quickly and from that moment on the events started to follow each other up rapidly.

By now, 2015, the PPP installation has been present at over 75 events in 11 different countries and 3 continents! During these events, more than 150.000 people witnessed the awesomeness of our installation, and we are still counting!

Did you know the PPP installation is not the only one in the world anymore? Since the first installation got retired and is now acting as storage shelves in our office, a brand new installation was designed and built. This improved version currently has a copy in Angola, Africa, which is operated by an eager student team that gives workshops at schools and universities.

Another installation is at a university in The Netherlands and the third copy just got back to our office from an exhibition in “Het Nieuwe Instituut” (The New Institute) in Rotterdam.

We do not just spread love, we multiply it as well!

For some applications the whole installation is too big; reason to use the machines as a standalone. For example a PPP shredder is at Etsy headquarters in New York to shred used plates to reduce the volume of the garbage. A PPP shredder and extruder are at FabLab Flevoland as part of a regional school program about the recycling of plastics. And on the other side of the world, a shredder and extruder just got to environmental awareness organization L.O.O.P in Peru to demonstrate and experiment with plastics recycling.  

But PPP is not only physically, but also digitally, spreading its word:

  • The PPP movie made during the Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven has been watched over 15.000 times on YouTube.

  • PPP is used in many inspirational talks and presentations throughout the world. The mayor of Rotterdam, Amsterdam and Rome got a spin at the PPP tools.

The Mayor of Rome 2013
  • PPP was featured in Dutch national TV shows Kassa Groen and Huisje Boompje Beestje. The last show is watched by all primary school kids in The Netherlands. Gaspard is still recognized by kids that watched the episode over a year ago, forcing him to disguise whenever he visits primary schools.

We have tried to reach out to people via showcases at events, presentations, television, workshops and through our online community. By now, more than half a million of people have heard about adding value to plastic instead of regarding it as waste.. Because we continue working hard to inspire people, this number is still going up!

Next international PPP exposure will be in Greece & a second run in Rome! So be there if you can, to watch our new, improved and shiny installation!


Best practices & tips

Running for 3 years now and with over 75+ events (LINK blog Spread the love), we want to share with you 3 tips that -partly of course- explain the magic of PPP of making any event truly unique.

1. Tip: Engage visitors before the event
How?   Recycled invitation cards
here? Arup Penguin Pool june 2015, Berlin

The Penguin Pool is Arup's global creative events series designed to inform, inspire and entertain. This year, it was hosted by Arup in Berlin. The Penguin Pool’s theme focused around the "Resource City": where do our urban resources actually come from and where do they really go? To engage the visitors even before the event started, the team from Arup came up with a great idea which we turned into reality.Visitors received a personalised invitation card made of PS plastic. With this card they could enter the event and instead of disposing the card after use, it could directly be recycled in the PPP installation in coins.

Some visitors did know exactly what to do and others were pleasantly surprised by the concept!

Perpetual Plastic Project @ ARUP


2.Tip: Combine installations into 1 big experience
Jack the Green Plugin
Where?  Ekotown, June 2014, Amsterdamse Bos

Ekotown is a 2 day lifestyle festival in Amsterdam were the focus is on sharing knowledge and inspiration about a biological way of life. Together with UMEF we proposed to make the PPP machine run fully on green energy, locally produced at the festival.  

The PPP installation does not require that much power at all since most of the power comes from the visitor’s muscles. However the drying tower, the 3D-printers and some mobile phone chargers needed to be powered, so we had to come up with an idea to produce power.

To achieve this, we used wind, solar and human power to generate this needed energy. Since wind and solar energy are depending fully on the local condition, human power was needed as a back up. While there was almost no wind these days, it turned out to be very sunny, and the solar panels produced more than enough power to keep the machine running all day, without having to fall back on human or wind power. The combination of PPP, green energy harvesting and an electricity producing dancefloor is a green package deal for festivals by the name of Jack, the Green Plugin.

3.Tip: Optimize the match between the 3D-printed recycled product and the event.
Recycled surf vins
Where? Madnes festival 2014

Every summer a group of surfers, skaters and music lovers goes all the way north to the lovely island of Ameland to enjoy a weekend long festival named Madnes. With most of the PPP team being loyal visitors of this festival it was high on our ‘Places to go’ list for PPP. In the summer of 2014 we finally got the chance to show our project. Since the festival is founded and attended by surfers we could make an interesting connection with the Fover Fins project we were working on; 3D printing customized surfboard fins from recycled beach plastic. During the festival we did some experiments and printed several surf fins. The visitors were really enthusiastic and immediately understood the possible applications for recycling for 3D-printing.

Perpetual Plastic Project @ Madnes

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