A TAVISTOCK initiative to prevent plastic waste pollution has received a National Lottery Community Fund of £10,000.

Precious Plastic Tavistock, an arts and recycling collaboration between Tavistock Scrapstore and The Robey Trust, has received the funding in order to build four machines which turn plastic waste into new products.

Precious Plastic is a worldwide initiative, started by Dave Haakens in the Netherlands, which uses open source designs to allow plastic recycling on a small scale.

Trustee of Tavistock Scrapstore Ursula Mann has been researching the project and connecting community groups and individuals to bring the project to life over the last year.

She said: ‘The aim is to make products that are valuable from plastic rubbish, preventing waste from being tipped or incinerated, which is a core value of scrapstores throughout the UK. This is the first fully charitable Precious Plastic project in the UK and will allow anyone in and around Tavistock to use recycled plastic to make things for their own craft businesses or community projects.’

With an engineering apprenticeship programme in place, The Robey Trust is providing engineering expertise and construction skills to help build the machines.

Initially the machines will be built at the Robey Trust premises in Pixon Lane. The production of new products will take place in a shipping container belonging to Tavistock Scrapstore. Individuals and community groups will be able to use the new facility to make recycled products from plastic waste sourced locally.

The project has widespread support in the local community — the initial information meeting last November was packed.

Tavistock town mayor Paul Ward attended that meeting and expressed support and interest in the project. He said: ‘The world is full of discarded plastic. It is thrown away as if it has no value. However, plastic is derived from fossil fuels and the supply is finite. Eventually, if we continue as we are, not only will plastic pollution increase further but we also risk eventually not being able to produce any new plastic. It therefore makes sense to reuse and recycle our plastics.

‘I, like many, feel frustrated that our kerbside collection of plastic is currently limited to plastic bottles. My wife and I collect other plastics and from time to time, when the box is full, we take them to the Crowndale amenity site in the belief that they will be recycled. I therefore welcome the “Precious Plastics” initiative in Tavistock.

‘It will not, of itself, solve the problem of “waste” plastic polluting our seas and rivers but it is an example of what can be achieved through collaboration between two community groups.

‘I will happily collect my unwanted plastics and donate them to the project, once I know what is required, and I look forward to seeing what interesting, attractive and useful items emerge from the process. I wish the project every success.’

As part of the launch of Precious Plastic Tavistock, The Lions Club of Tavistock is offering a £100 prize for the best design of an injection moulded product that could be made with the new machines. Individuals are invited to submit designs for useful items that could be made with recycled plastic and provide income to support the project long-term.

For more information on the initiative, or the Lions’ competition, or to volunteer, visit www.tavistockscrapstore.org/precious-plastic-tavistock