top of page
  • By Jayne Flores

Precious plastic

Attention, enterprising young environmentalists/activists who care about the future of our previous island. If you really want to make a difference, one of you— or a group of you — could focus on ridding the island of plastic. “How can we do this?” you ask?

Here’s how:

PreciousPlastic is a recycling business you can run out of a shipping container. It was started by Dave Hakkens, a guy from the Netherlands who wanted to do something about the huge global problem of plastic pollution. He developed this container plastic recycling business for his graduation project at the Design Academy back in 2013, according to his website. This container is filled with several machines that he invented to recycle plastic and make it into bowls, plates, wall hangers, pretty much anything you can think of. And the amazing thing is, he’s giving away this container plastic recycling business design for free. It’s all available on the internet to some enterprising young person or group to start up. I’m sure our Guam Economic Development Authority, which is formulating a program to award sustainability grants for start-up businesses, would be happy to help with something this ingenious that can help our island rid itself of plastic and help some people to make a living doing it.

Full disclosure here: I cannot take credit for finding this site. My friend Peggy Denney, the iRecycle queen who has probably done more to help save Guam’s environment than anyone over the past two decades (think Liberation Day recycling, for starters), told me about it over lunch one day. I promised her that I would look it up and write about it, so here you are, Peggy. You were right. It is an awesome idea just waiting for a group of enterprising young people to run with here on Guam.

I’ve started to pay more attention to plastic and the “reduce, reuse, recycle” way of thinking ever since the birth of my grandson. I have become more conscious about creating less waste, trying to use fewer plastic bottles – in short, trying to do my small bit in order to leave Guam a better place for when he grows up.

Every time we go up to our family beach at Jinapsan, I collect trash (again, mostly plastic) that foreign ships passing by over the horizon have rudely chucked overboard, not giving a thought to where the waves will unintentionally deposit it, or to the ocean creatures that will die from swallowing it.

One of my small contributions is not to buy juice in those large plastic bottles. I’ve gone back to making juice the way we used to make it when I was a kid – from concentrate. My mom would buy those small frozen cardboard containers of orange or pineapple juice concentrate, and you’d take the container out of the freezer, peal the small plastic strip from around the aluminum cover attached to the cardboard, open it, dump the concentrate into a pitcher, then dump three containers-full of water into the pitcher, stir it, and voila – juice. With about one fifth the amount of waste generated as that big plastic bottle. It literally takes about a minute to make juice this way. Maybe not as convenient as opening that stupid plastic bottle, but hey. Slow down a bit. You can spare a minute to help our precious tropical environment.

And don’t worry. Unfortunately, there will still be plenty of plastic for that enterprising group of young people to recycle when they log onto and find out how to start a container plastic recycling business out here.

I’ll be your first customer. And I’ll bring a lot of people with me.

Come on, go for it:

Jayne Flores is the director of the Bureau of Women’s Affairs and a long-time journalist. Contact her at

bottom of page