From Otter Tail County Information Office
The Otter Tail County Solid Waste Department has installed a Precious Plastic Mix Workspace at the Otter Tail County Recycling Center in Fergus Falls, thanks to a Community Changemaker Grant from West Central Initiative and collaboration with project partners Springboard for the Arts and Pope/Douglas Solid Waste.
The idea to bring a Precious Plastic Workspace to Otter Tail County originated last winter, when one of Springboard’s Homecoming artist residents, Alo Osberg, offered workshops in the community about creative reuse of plastic waste.
Alo’s workshops were extremely popular, and towards the end of the residency, the idea of doing more collaboration around the issue of plastic waste was sparked between Alo, Springboard staff, and Cedar Walters in Otter Tail County’s Solid Waste Department.
“This workspace, which is the first available in Minnesota, is going to be an incredible resource to the creative community in our region, and a playful and fun way to learn about the serious impacts of plastic waste in our world. We’re very excited to continue partnering with Otter Tail County Solid Waste, since we strongly believe that art and creativity can help shed light on larger social issues and bring people together to problem solve and collaborate on long-term solutions.” – Michele Anderson, Rural Program Director, Springboard for the Arts
Communities all over the world have Precious Plastic workshops where they collect plastic, shred plastic and create products from recycled plastic. The goal of Precious Plastic is to have people see plastic as the ‘precious’ resource that it is, instead of something disposable, by making durable and beautiful objects out of waste plastic.
The Lakes Area Precious Plastic Mix Workspace consists of four basic plastic recycling machines built to Precious Plastic specs – a shredder, an injection molding machine, an extruder, and a small sheet press. Using the machines requires training and experience, and essentially takes plastic recycling to an artisanal level. After completing a training workshop, artists and makers will be encouraged to reserve time in the Workspace to make ‘precious’ objects out of waste plastics.
Several training opportunities for artists will be offered in fall of 2020, and starting in 2021 the Workspace will be featured in Otter Tail County Recycling Center tours and other events to educate people about plastic pollution and creative solutions to address our waste problem.
For more information about the Lakes Area Mix Workspace project visit ottertailcountymn.us/content-page/lakes-area-precious-plastic-mix-workspace/.