(links to external sites of academic work & partner institutions)
2018/01 – 2020/09
NYUAD Plastic Recycling Research Lab
An interdisciplinary design research lab with a focus on getting and sharing a holistic view onto global issues that relate to plastic and plastic recycling (2018–2021).
How did it start?
The Precious Plastic initiative has grown from being a graduation project initiated by Dave Hakkens (Design Academy Eindhoven, NL) to a project that is acknowledged across the globe. Hakkens and his team designed several low-cost machines for plastic recycling – or let's better say upcycling – using basic tools and materials. Sharing technical drawings and blueprints online, this information brings recycling plastic closer to communities, who now have the power to create the machines by themselves and turn old plastic products into new, creative objects or even raw material that can be used in production of other plastic products. A group of NTSI researchers supported the project by giving access to interested community members to the universities infrastructure, and organising educational workshops e.g. for schools. The team works on creating the plastic upcycling machines (shredder, extruder, injection, compression), and is also interested in using the recycled plastic as a resource for the lab's prototypes, as well as the development of new products.
The project led to the initiation of a new research lab at NYUAD in Fall 2018: The Plastic Recycling Research Lab, aka the Plastic Lab.
Check out this archived website featuring the work done from 2018–2021: plastic.ntsi.info
How did it continue?
The research focus in the Plastic Lab was on getting and sharing a holistic view onto global issues that relate to plastic and plastic recycling. As part of his work at the Plastic Lab Felix Beck received several grants: First, a 10k $ Center Planning Grant in Fall 2019 to transfer the lab into a Sustainability Center of Excellence, and second, a 50k $ grant for the 1st Precious Plastic WANA Conference 2018. As part of his research, he lead a team of dedicated student research assistants and community members to work on answers, and develop solutions towards questions such as: Why plastic? How is it used in the market? What are the lifespans of the different types? What are processes of waste collection and processing? etc. To find answers to those questions Prof. Beck collaborated with partner institutions on a national and international level such as the following:
Felix working on new machine versions, August 2021