Rise of the Plastic Artisans

Sodium Films + Precious Plastic Lancaster, 2021

Mass plastic product production of the 20th Century missed a step in the life-cycle of most material manufacturing – that of the master craftsman and the intensive hand-working of high quality, individually-made products.  A rapidly advancing, global ‘craft’ movement in plastic, known as ‘Precious Plastic’, is restoring balance and value in the ubiquitous material, whilst demystifying and democratising the chain from waste material to desirable product.

Through the story-telling expertise of Sodium Films, imagery and interview combined to reveal the rise of Lancashire’s very own Plastic Artisans; Precious Plastic Lancaster. The video portrait sheds light on the hand and machine processes used to make high-quality, locally-made products from recycled plastics. Sodium’s profile of Precious Plastic Lancaster demonstrated the value in a material we previously thought of as cheap, single-use and disposable.

“For me, the lack of imagination around what we can do with recycled plastics is kind of infuriating. It’s an incredible material. We just haven’t really started to look at that and that’s what we want to do.”

Nathan Burley, Precious Plastic Lancaster

“I spent a lot of time thinking about how we make new answers to our problems”

Kiki Callihan, Precious Plastic Lancaster

Sodium Films

Sodium is a team of filmmakers, combining ideas, strategy and end-to-end production with one team, under one roof. They create extraordinary content and infectious campaigns for digital screens, social channels and live experiences. They are a nimble and diverse family of thinkers and doers built on an obsessive desire to make everything the best it can be. In terms of content, Sodium are expert story-tellers and travel world-wide to satisfy their thirst for working on projects they believe in.

Precious Plastic Lancaster

Precious Plastic Lancaster is a 4 person team adding imagination to the manufacturing and recycling process. They produce locally made, thoughtfully designed and highly valued products from 100% recycled plastic, which they sell through their own brand, Relic. They also offer bespoke manufacturing services to small businesses looking to create their own recycled plastic products.

Precious Plastic Lancaster is part of a global community of plastic recycling operations – a combination of people, machines and knowledge which create an alternative global recycling system. Empowered by open-source machinery designs and blueprints for everything from recycling collection points and designs for production workshops, all inspired by the initiative’s instigator, Precious Plastic in Eindhoven, Holland, individuals and groups have been able to set up shop as low-volume, specialist plastic recyclers or educational community projects.

“Plastic is fantastic, it’s this amazing material. We use it everywhere for a reason, but unfortunately we use it in a lot of wrong ways and short life ways. It’s something that lasts forever, it’s got particular characteristics so we believe we should make products that adhere to those characteristics, make something that is going to last a long time, purposefully. Not something that is made to be used for 12 seconds.”

Martin Paley, Precious Plastic Lancaster


Art in Manufacturing is supported by

Back to top