Global Impact


Discover the numbers behind Precious Plastic. Learn about the impact hundreds of recycling workspaces are having in every corner of the planet.


Over the past 6 yrs Precious Plastic has become a global movement of thousands of people applying their creative genius to solve the plastic waste problem. Together. As a recycling army. This already feels like a success on its own.

However, if you are a tiny bit like us you want to see the numbers. Juicy data showing the cumulative impact we’re all having working on Precious Plastic.

Back in March 2020, we collaborated with Impacton and ran our first-ever Precious Plastic Global Impact Survey to gather qualitative and quantitative data from the Precious Plastic community. 

A sincere thanks to all of those who responded! We heard from more than 1,000 people. Workspaces, recyclers, collectors, machine builders and community members.

Now, let's crack on with some numbers!

Data on data

A total of 1083 people from 102 countries took part in the survey from March 10th to 20th. Over 54% were under 30 and 1/3 women.

Kgs recycled

Let’s start with the most important piece of information. Together, all workspaces surveyed recycled over 376 176 Kgs/year of plastic waste. That amounts to 835 kg/year or 69 kg/month for every Precious Plastic workspace.


Polypropylene (PP) and High-density Polyethylene (HDPE) are the most recycled plastics within the Precious Plastic Universe. 


The average Precious Plastic workspace has a team of 5, of which 1/3 are women. Normally only 1 person is able to work full time and get a salary.

Age breakdown:
18 = 0,8%
18-25 = 21,2%
25-30 = 23,3%
30-35 = 18%
35-40 = 15,9%
40+ = 20,8 %

Recycling since

Precious Plastic has been around for 6yrs now. Some projects are new while some have been around forever.

Longevity stats:
-6% are more than 5 yrs old
-22% are between 2 and 5 yrs old
-30% are between 1 and 2 yrs old
-42% exist since less than a year

Global annual revenue

Together people and workspaces working on Precious Plastic generated over 2.1 Million € in yearly revenue (€2 131 454 € to be precise). That is 7 279 € a year or 606 € per month for each workspace around the world.

Total investment

To startup their recycling businesses Precious Plastic workspaces invested a total of 4 950 089 € from private, public or personal investment. That comes down to 11 000€ per workspace.

Legal structure

Most workspaces are businesses, companies or non-profit organisations.

A bit more than 10% are schools or universities, while there is slightly less than 9% of social enterprises. A tiny fraction are cooperatives or part of larger organisations.

Financially sustainable

Of all workspaces around the world 10% are profitable while 21% are financially sustainable. This happens through direct sales of products, machines and services.

Western Europe and South-East Asia are the regions where the most profitable workspaces are located.

Shredder supremacy

The shredder is by far the most widely available machine in the Precious Plastic Universe.

Of all workspaces worldwide 79.6% have a shredder, 57.1% have an injection machine and 50.2% have an extrusion machine.

Power to the builders

There are thousands of Precious Plastic machines around the world. But how are people getting their hands on them?

-66,3% built themselves
-25,1% got custom machines made
-13,3% bought them on the bazar


With data assumptions become real. The “feeling” we had about Precious Plastic is now a bit more concrete. This report helps us highlight and understand areas of improvement and investment. 

Thanks to our map we already had an idea of how many Precious Plastic projects exist around the world. However, now we have a better understanding of the number and type of people involved. And makes us very happy to see lots women amongst many dusty, nerdy machine guys. Plus over 50% of the people working on Precious Plastic is under 30 giving us great hope for a generational transformation.

The Precious Plastic adoption curve seem to be growing exponentially year after year with the beginning of 2020 that saw a 73% increase in Precious Plastic workspace being born compared to 2019.

The plastic recycled still seems minimal if compared to traditional recycling infrastructure. However, we see a tipping point approaching as the Precious Plastic Universe is implemented globally with all its new tools and machines. 

A major criticism we had over the years was that unless there is a financial incentive, Precious Plastic won’t work. The survey showed that there are many workspaces that are legit for-profit businesses making money every month and employing various people. This makes us excited, especially as  we are confident that the newly released open source business models will skyrocket those numbers. 

Note 1.We see the survey as a reflection of Precious Plastic up until 2019. This does not take into account the major infrastructure and strategic changes that came with the release of the Precious Plastic Universe (V4). 

Note 2. The survey was released in mid march colliding with the time when the coronavirus pandemic kicked off globally. Many people weren’t able to fill in the survey as they had other more pressing issues in their head.

Special thanks to Impacton for helping create the survey.

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