Devon has a strong and diverse creative sector that encompasses businesses that utilise high tech and those who champion traditional skills. Many are concerned about the environment and would like to have a positive impact on the planet. They are using innovative approaches to make a difference and communicate the issues.
When the Plymouth Scrapstore and Dr Kate Crawfurd were gifted plastic recycling machinery, Dr Whittaker’s involvement helped them take advantage of the opportunity, supporting a new service for Plymouth’s business community to transform plastic waste into new products.
The machines had been built using open-source designs from Precious Plastic, a global movement that shares access to plans for machines that can break down hard-to-recycle plastics and mould them into reusable items.
This collaboration resulted in further funding for them to build a peddle-powered shredder. This human-powered device shreds plastic at zero operating costs to prepare plastic for re-moulding. The new CIC, Precious Plastic Plymouth and Tavistock was created.
To engage the community with this new opportunity for re-using plastics, designers, makers and other businesses were invited to join events arranged by Low Carbon Devon. The machines were showcased to encourage attendees to commission the manufacture of objects or components, made with recycled plastic, or hire the Precious Plastic machines to use themselves.
The Precious Plastic Plymouth and Tavistock equipment has been used to create new products for local businesses from used plastic including the manufacture of membership badges for the Green Maker Initiative, MAKE Southwest, using designs created by University of Plymouth Masters Design graduates, Ian Saw and Oscar McNaughton.
To find out more, including how to donate plastic, visit the Precious Plastic Plymouth and Tavistock website.
Ian Saw, Oscar McNaughton & Kate Crawfurd with peddle powered shredder
Precious Plastic Plymouth, Plastic Alchemy Workshop
GMI membership button & mould designed by Ian Saw & Oscar McNaughton
Dr Kate Crawfurd is an artist and scientist who is passionate about the environment. Kate has been painting murals since she was 12. She went on to train at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and then spent many years painting stage scenery. As she became increasingly concerned about climate change she re-trained as a marine biologist at the University of Plymouth. Combining these two amazing skill sets, she is able to inspire others to appreciate and protect the planet.
As a mural artist, she finds her work to be a powerful way of reaching a large, diverse audience and delivering a message in a positive, thought-provoking manner. Dr Crawfurd received business assistance from Low Carbon Devon’s Dr Emma Whittaker, including help accessing funding and publicity as well as opportunities to develop the training side of the business.
Kate Crawfurd Murals was commissioned to produce three large-scale public murals for the AHRC Net Zero Visions project.
Mural, Sustainability Hub, University of Plymouth
The Low Carbon Devon project was a five-year European Regional Development Fund project held at the University of Plymouth supporting Devon businesses to transition to the low carbon economy closing in mid-2023.
The project served as a catalyst for low carbon economic growth in Devon via the Future Shift internship programme, a series of free events and by connecting enterprises with expertise within the University of Plymouth.
The project collaborated with over 130 innovative Devon enterprises who are developing sustainable practices and securing opportunities in the low carbon economy.
To find out more about the University of Plymouth's business services visit