Hi, I would like to share my journey for the project a little bit with Kopernik (overview only). The project’s design method was done based on my experience in designing a product, helped with others Kopernik team members (so it might more likely qualitative method). Keep update on Kopernik’s website to see the full report.
The project focuses on Bali waste management problem. We are aware that there are a lot of private and public companies and organization that runs the various waste disposal models. Kopernik tries to test the small-scale technology to solve this waste management issue, especially in plastic. The challenge that Kopernik aim to address is how to turn plastic waste into productive use with a relatively small investment so that it’s accessible to local communities.
The technology that Kopernik want to test is the Injection Machine designed by a product designer from the Netherlands, Dave Hakkens. It called Precious Plastic which became the open sources machine. People all around the world can create their own machine too to recycle the plastic waste.
In this project, I worked as a product designer to create the possible product for the demand of the market, and feasibility of production.
Approach To The Problem
We considered the plastic waste business in Indonesia has the new market and new products framework which is only a few is exist in the market and has limited competitors. Therefore to answer the challenge “Who needs the plastic waste product?”, we used exploratory research.
Exploratory research is used in the market research, including Observe, Define, Ideation, Prototyping, and User Testing. More qualitative research such as depth interview or focus groups used in the process of the design decision. At the end of the process, there will be more quantitative research on how people react the result of the product making to evaluate the design in the future.
Then the findings are translated into the potential business models. From the models, we made the design requirements and then started the ideation process. Likewise, we create the design alternatives and rapid prototyping, also the 3d modelling to test the feasibility of production capacity. Finally, after the production, we do user testing with quantitative data (including behavioural, attitudinal, classification data).
The Recycle Trend
In line with growing eco-awareness, new approaches to plastics are re-evaluating the throwaway material. Value is being added through unconventional sourcing and the emergence of experimental manufacturing techniques, elevating plastic from its humble, everyday status. Stylus, an innovation research and trend firms, convey that there will be more companies are discovering that by collaborating to implement alternatives to virgin petroleum-based plastic, they can not only reduce the environmental impact but also drive innovation and receive accolades. The second thing highlighted by Stylus is the importance of process-driven products. Plastics are ripe for innovative manufacturing methods – with developments in 3D printing and experimental casting techniques, designers are pushing this material to its limits. Another thing is the refining aesthetic of the product, which previously underrated and overlooked. Plastic products now offer a more sophisticated finish, particularly when applied in subtle colour ways or mixed with natural materials.
Precious Plastic in Indonesia
Since Dave Hakkens’ Precious Plastic project arise in Indonesia, many individuals and community refine each of Hakken’s machines for plastic recycling. Hakkens’ blueprints can be downloaded by anyone to start their own plastic workshop. There are four machines in total: a shredder, an extrusion machine, an injection machine and a compressor for larger, more solid objects. All the machines can be built using readily sourced materials costing between €120-192 ($133-213), depending on the machine. A pioneering example of open-source generosity, this project has endless potential in encouraging creativity, shared knowledge and community to make a global-local impact, cleaning up pollution and educating as part of a complete downloadable package.
In fact, there is a high demand and enthusiast of Indonesia community to built the machine. They connect each other through social media (Whatsapp group and Facebook group). However, the market of end-product has not been proved yet, because most people in Indonesia Precious Plastic community focus more on the machine building. Therefore, Kopernik was working on this project, to test the market. Is there a demand for the product?
The Process Result
We found that there is a lot of limitation in the resources collection (which is the plastic waste) and the mould making process. There is some consideration in making the product such as the size limitation, CNC machine limitation, waste colour, design, melting temperature, resources, how to use the machine properly, etc.
Apparently, after went through all the blood, sweat, and tears, we found many things in the process. There are so many failures in the beginning. We learned the drawbacks of the machine and how to improve the process and the machine. Finally, after so many trial and error, we were so glad that the product can be produced from the machine. It also makes a unique pattern of a gemstone. Even though we want to produce 6 products, at the end we end up only to try 2 designs.
When I finished this project, there will be students from Yale University that will analyze the Cost-Benefit for the project. Will it become a sustainable business models? Let’s see.
“Don’t try to solve the problem that people don’t have. Don’t make the product that people don’t want….. Make the product that valuable. Work with people that are already motivated to do that, so you can inspire them. People motivated and the machine inspired them”.
Piet van Zyl
Pioneer Positive Impact Forever, works with Alaya Hotel for 4 years
Bali, Dec 2017-Mar 2018