Can I recycle plastics at home by melting and molding?

  • I would like to know if it is possible to recycle plastic at home by melting and molding.

    Is it at all possible? What technique or technology do I need? Can it be done with any plastic? Are there health hazards associated to this activity?

    _Are there health hazards associated to this activity?_ -->Inhalation of toxic fumes comes to mind. Other than that, you're probably golden.

    @elssar: is it true of all plastics? Are fumes systematically present during melting?

    I think so, yes. All plastics will produce some toxic fumes when melted/burned, some more than others. But googling around, it seems that it isn't as bad as I first thought.

    This idea of converting plastic into oil is also quite cool. If you're going to use oil anyway, you might as well use it and get rid of a big pile of plastic at the same time...

    I was trying to figure out how to ask this question yesterday. Thank you

    Wow this would be neat to do if all hazards were removed. One thing that I do to with some plastics, you can reuse or repurpose them for another function in life. For example the slats http://i.stack.imgur.com/uX9vV.jpg of a miniblind can be made into markers for the garden. With some thought many things are reusable and are sure to reduce one carbon foot print. See my plant name tag in the photo.

    @JimBo as this is a question & answer site, rather than a discussion forum, answers really do need to address the exact question asked. In this case I've converted your answer to a comment. This is likely to happen to several of your other answers as well. Please do check that you're answering the question as asked, rather than discussing the question or another answer.

  • elssar

    elssar Correct answer

    8 years ago

    I would like to know if it is possible to recycle plastic at home by melting and molding.

    Yes it is possible. One guy makes chairs out of melted plastic. There are several guides on melting plastic that show up when you search google for it. This one, on ehow shows how to melt plastic in a toaster oven. Basically, wash the bottles, cut 'em into small manageable chunks and pop them in a metal container and into the oven at 350F. It should take a few minutes for the plastic to melt.

    As for molding them, I found a few guides -

    But remember, melting plastics will produce fumes which can be harmful if inhaled. Make sure to melt them in a well ventilated area. And if you're doing it in a room, it would be nice to have an exhaust fan in there. Also, check out this guide on what the different rating numbers on the bottom of plastic bottles mean, specifically, what kinds of plastic a number refers to and whether or not it is safe to melt that plastic.

    Are the fumes only toxic for health? I "thought" they were very polluting as well.

    This also does not address whether All types of plastics can be melted safely or what kinds of plastics are worth melting.

  • To contribute to the options offered by Elssar's answer, here is an interesting thing I read about just a few days ago:

    Filabot is a project of compact 3D printer that directly recycles plastic objects at home to create new shapes. It was launched for funding on the 19th of December 2011 on Kickstarter and tripled its goal by the 23rd of January 2012.

    Here is the homepage of the project: http://filabot.com/

    They apparently shipped the devices to at least some of the project backers during 2013.

  • Even when melted/burned in a place with lots of ventilation, plastics can produce many toxic chemicals. These are then breathed in or attach themselves to soil, where they can stay for years and years. Therefore, I really wouldn't suggest trying to reuse plastics at home by melting or heating them, as the health implications can be really dangerous and damaging in the long run.

    Is this true for all types of plastic? Are you able to provide a link to some more information about this? Thanks!

    @HighlyIrregular It certainly depends on the plastic, but for example fumes from ABS are highly iritating to eyes etc. This, I know from experience with 3D printing.

    Why are those impurities in plastics in the first place then? or on the other hand, what use is the plastic after these impurities have been released?

  • It depends on the plastic you're using. Plastics often come in the thermoplastic and thermosetting categories.

    If the plastic is a thermosetting plastic then it is not able to melted (Most, if not all thermosetting plastics burn rather than melt).

    However, a thermoplastic plastic can be melted and remoulded as much as you want (quality of plastic is likely to degrade after each phase melting and remoulding however).

    What about melting plastic anaerobically to avoid burning?

  • Depending on the type of reshaping you are interested in, you can do basic crafts with the right kind of plastic by simply using a hairblower to heat them up and bending them into shape.

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Content dated before 6/26/2020 9:53 AM