In May 2019, we introduced an exciting project we had been working on for the last months. The Waste Pen, a plastic pen made out of recycled milk bottles, jerry cans, and more! The project came to life while Dennis was on vacation. Inspired by the polluted beaches, he started tinkering a solution to help on a small and local scale to battle this problem. Obviously, the first idea was making a recycled pen, with our background in wooden pens. From there, one the Waste Pen was born!
1. What is a Waste Pen
Firstly it's important to explain what our Waste pen exactly is and what it consists of. This writing pen is made out of locally recycled milk bottles, washing detergents, and jerry cans. More precisely, it's made out of HDPE plastic, which stands for High-Density Polyethylene. We choose this plastic because it's often found as trash all over the world, but it's also relatively easy to work with. These writing instruments' metal parts are the same ones we use for our wooden ballpoint pens and come from a local supplier. To achieve the unique colors for these pens we melt the plastic ourselves and mix it in a swirly shape to make sure every enclosure is unique and one of a kind.
2. Why we make recycled pens
There are many reasons why we create these sustainable pens. Firstly we want to make a small positive impact on the world and help with one of the biggest challenges we face as a society: plastic pollution. Another reason is to create local awareness of plastic pollution and to recycle the plastic locally and give it a new life. With this project, we also want to give back to an organization that is trying to protect one of the world's most spectacular places on earth. The Great Barrier Reef Foundation is a wonderful organization that fights directly with plastic pollution and tries to preserve the reef. That's why, with this project, we donate 20% off the revenue directly to them to help their mission. We choose this foundation because their cause is great and because Dennis has seen himself the wonders of the reef and wants to preserve it for future generations. Lastly, we make these pens because it's truly fun, and the whole process of making a pen out of an old bottle is really fascinating and rewarding!
3. How we came up with the idea
This is probably the most typical story of how it started for many companies that work with recycled materials. However, it's still important to talk about it. Last year Dennis saw different polluted beaches In Australia and New Zealand, the nature was truly stunning, but humans have a really negative impact on all the beaches with their plastic pollution! After seeing this, he started like a mad man thinking of ways to help with Wooden Gifts And More. He came quickly with the idea of recycled pens. After reading for days and driving his girlfriend crazy, the first plans were made on his vacation. Once back in the workshop, the tinkering continued, and quickly the first prototypes were made! A huge influence on the idea where the people from Precious Plastic and their incredible DIY machines to recycle on a small scale plastics.
4. How we make this sustainable ballpoint pen
As already mentioned, there is a long process involved with making these pens; it all starts with finding the plastic and cleaning it for the melting process. After the plastic is cleaned, it has to be cut in small pieces to melt easier and evenly. The next step is to melt the plastic and turn it several times to create this unique swirl pattern between the different colors. After the blank of recycled plastic has been cooled down, it will be cut and drilled to prepare it for turning. The plastic turns lovely, and leaves some beautiful chips behind that will be recycled again! The last step in the workshop is to sand and finish it; after that, the pen will be assembled and is ready to be used for a lifetime by people all over the world! If you want to see the whole process, we made a video displaying from start to finish.
5. Our plans for in the future
The Waste Pen is only the beginning for us with recycled plastic products. In the future, we hope to create many more different products and possibly even use a 3D printer with recycled plastic. But these are sadly enough not plans for in the near future; our small workshop simply doesn't have enough space at the moment :D The goal is to set up a Precious plastic production line in our next office to create everything we can imagine out of recycled plastic! By doing so, we hope to really make an impact and supply people all over the world with unique recycled products.
6. DIY plastic recycling
This post is all about the Waste Pen, the what, why, and how. But if you would like to know more about small scale plastic recycling, Precious Plastic has helped us a lot when starting on this exciting adventure! It's very rewarding and fun to create unique products out of plastic, so definitely give it a try! Another valuable resource, as almost always, is Youtube. Lots of videos are available that display DIY plastic recycling in a fun and easy to grasp way.
Precious Plastic is the way to go if you want to learn more about plastic recycling and how to do it yourself. Precious Plastic is a project that started in 2012. Dave Hakkens (A Dutch student at the time) created 4 DIY plastic machines that could be made from minimal resources. The complete designs and plans for these machines are all open-sourced, this to help as many people worldwide to fight the plastic. The project has evolved from a one-man project to a whole movement and community worldwide with plastic recycling workshops popping up everywhere! You can also find all information regarding the different plastics on their website, how to collect them, and clean them. Secondly, they also have endless ideas of what you can make with the plastic, so inspiration is guaranteed!