When we were growing up, we would spend a bunch of time in the woods building dens or crafting bows and arrows from sticks and string, essentially thinking we were in Lord of the Rings. So we really grew up with a natural love of making stuff and love that fact that we now do that as our full time jobs.
In 2018, we started making things together again as an excuse to hang out together more often. This then developed into filming our projects for YouTube, mainly with our mum in mind as the only potential viewer.
For the last 3 years we have slightly shifted our focus to working with recycled plastics using various methods and by some miracle, we’ve managed to gain over 250k subscribers from doing so. What we make can absolutely be done with minimal tools and a low cost set-up (check out our beginners’ guide on how to get started!) We work predominantly with HDPE (2) because these plastics melt at a low temperature and are pretty damn easy to work with. Our favourite method for DIY recycling is to use a panini press, as this ensures the plastic only reaches around 180 degrees celcius, which is way below the burning point, meaning that it’s nice and safe to work with.
We love seeing our work inspire others to try their hand at turning plastic goo into something new. And not only that, our ultimate goal is to really try and change people’s perception of plastic as a resource to be looked after and reused to make awesome things, and not something that is single-use. Single-use sucks.
How do you use recycled plastics in your work?
All of the products that sell are made from 100% recycled plastic. Friends and families, as well as local schools and businesses collect plastic for us. We also get a lot through our wonderful, local community.
Ultimately, our train of thought is that by creating a demand for recycled plastic products, it ensures that less plastic ends up in landfill or our oceans. And by ensuring that all of our plastic has been properly separated, it means that everything that we make can be recycled again in the future - and therefore creating a truly circular economy.
We have purchased some really cool machines to help reduce the time it takes to make our products which, in turn, helps make them more affordable - so that’s always nice. We have a shredder to process plastic into usable, uniform flakes, making it easier to have control over our colour combinations. We have also purchased injection and extrusion moulding machines that heat and inject recycled plastic into our custom-designed product moulds.
We always ensure that every piece of plastic that goes into our projects is cleaned before being hand sorted by type and colour. This a fairly lengthy, but totally necessary part of the process! We can then turn this material into brand new products, and the good thing about it being fully recycled, is that any waste produced can be collected and re-used - lovely!
What are some fun plastic recycling projects that can be done with the family?
One thing we love to do together is beach cleans, you can make some cool products from plastic items that you find along the beach. See our video on how we turn beach clean plastic into a set of beach bats, which would be a great one for getting the kids involved. We’ve also got this video which shows you how to make three super easy items out of waste plastic.
How can people keep up to date with Brothers Make?
The best way to see what we’re getting up to is by subscribing to our YouTube channel or following us on Instagram. And if you sign up to our mailing list on our website you’ll be notified as and when we release any of our new, planet-loving products.
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