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Circular Centers

bringing plastic-upcycling infrastructure to empower remote Canadian communities
to design + make what they need, from their waste plastic

Plastics are ubiquitous these days. A cheap yet useful and versatile material, all thermoplastics can be reshaped and reused. This is the basis of Melt Collective’s work: using simple, open-source manufacturing processes to convert plastic packaging from food and goods to create new, useful objects.

Remote communities in Canada (and around the world) have often have two, complementary problems:

1) lack of material goods — since transportation of goods is expensive, they make do with very little. To get mass-manufactured things to Iqaluit, they need to be produced in China, cargo-shipped to Vancouver or Toronto, then flown by airplane or helicopter — an expensive and limiting transportation system.

2) Packaging waste. Perishables need to be wrapped in plastic to avoid unwanted premature expiry, so these communities are left with excess waste and often have little formal infrastructure to handle it. Anecdotal accounts of communities up the coast in BC, and in the northern territories suggests most places are burning their waste in uncontrolled and potentially harmful open pits. 

Melt Collective suggests that the packaging materials already present in these communities are given a second life through mechanical and thermal Re-Manufacture, enabled by emerging technologies like 3D printing, and simple machines like oven-compressors, desktop extruders and small injection moulders. Working off the open-source Precious Plastic machine set, we will develop, make and distribute these Plastic Recycling Containers, so that communities have the tools to make the things they need LOCALLY, enabling production from plastic that would otherwise become waste, and encouraging localized design solutions to the unique problems that remote communities face.