Welcome to the Rusty Rooster,
the birthplace of the Earthworm Project.
This local scrapyard served as the source of nearly all of the metal used to build our recycling machines.
Discarded grocery shelves, household items, and construction equipment make up the bulk of the materials used to construct the Precious Plastic machines.
After months of learning to weld and build in my middle school art teacher's garage (thank you Bob + Cyndi!), I completed the injection and shredder machines.
As I worked on the machines, I looked for problems that could be solved through the design of simple, meaningful products that could be made using Precious Plastic machines.
One of the most common problems I repeatedly ran into was the issue of single-use plastic utensils.
I've tried using reusable utensils to curb this problem, but I always end up forgetting to bring them with me, so they didn't help much.
To solve this problem, I designed a utensil that's always with you - even when you don't bother to remember it.
It's designed to conveniently clip onto one of the few things that you never leave your house without - your keys. That way you always have it when you need it.
On top of that its simple, single-part design makes it easy to manufacture using the PP injection machine.
To make the mold, I used my middle school art teacher's Form2 3D-printer and hi-temp resin which has an HDT of ~260 degree C.
In terms of sustainability, this method is no good, since the resin can't be reused or recycled, so I don't want to continue using it over the long-term.
But for a kid who's self-funding the project by working odd jobs and serving tables, it is a cost-effective way to make highly detailed experimental molds.
In preparation for the show, I refined the design of the Daily Spork to improve its user experience as well as its manufacturability based on feedback from user-testing and production tests.
Daily Spork 0.1 has subtle, but substantial improvements, such as larger, stronger tines, a scoop to better hold food, and a stronger, sturdier handle.
Additionally, I moved the gate of the mold from the back to the side so that the part is easier to remove after injection, and the sprue can be easily snapped off by hand rather than cut off with a dremel.
For the Sustainable by Design Award, I got to drive out to Denver to present the spork at the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market and share the magic of Precious Plastic machines with tons of people in the outdoor industry. They loved it.
Now that the show is over, I'm continuing to refine the design and production methods of the Daily Spork 0.1
I'm living out of my van, camping and crashing with friends, borrowing their space to set up pop-up recycling workshops and pilot production runs of the Daily Spork.
Along with working on the Spork, I've also spent time volunteering at the Woodbine Ecology Center, learning about natural systems, permaculture, and land management.
I believe that nature knows best, so the best way to design any man-made system is to design one that mimics natural principles as closely as possible.
For now, I'm continuing to live out of my van, camp in parks, produce the Daily Spork, pick up litter, and build lots of campfires.
I'm so thankful for the path that the Precious Plastic machines have opened up for me. Words can't express my gratitude for the people I've met, the lessons I've learned, and the change I've been empowered to help make. I can't wait to see what the future entails.