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25 Plastic Items You Can Melt Down and Reuse at Home

Written by PJ
20/06/2022 09:09:50


Reduce, reuse, recycle—these are three words that are quickly becoming a part of everyday conversation. With growing concerns over climate change and our almost daily consumption of single-use plastics, sustainability has been a hot-button issue over the past years.

Whether you're planning to switch from plastic carriers to reusable bags or single-use straws to their metal and bamboo alternatives, more and more of us want to do our bit to help the environment. 
Plastics are often considered the primary culprit when it comes to our waste, but you might be surprised to hear that many of the plastic items you find throughout the home are recyclable and can be used time and again.

As the summer holidays are on the horizon, many of us are trying to think of new strategies to keep our kids entertained while they are home from school.

It can be hard to provide fun activities for them to do every day, but we’ve come up with one project that your kids are sure to love!

In our Bored Kids Series we are going to look at HDPE (High Density Polyethylene), one of the most used and easily recycled plastics in the home. 

We will explain how to find HDPE throughout the home, how to prepare it for reuse, how to safely melt it at home, and finally, how to reuse it and make something useful!

What is HDPE?
HDPE is a thermoplastic made from petroleum and one of the most versatile plastic materials currently in use today. It is used both in and outside the home to make a range of different products, including reusable plastic bottles, and food containers. HDPE also has some more niche applications: for instance, it is used to manufacture snowboards and in plastic surgery! 
What makes HDPE so popular is its malleability and long lifespan.

HDPE can easily be melted down at home and on an industrial scale, so it can be used again and again for different applications. It is also easy to work with and can be moulded in almost any shape.

HDPE is corrosion resistant too, making it a perfect material for storage containers. 
You can find HDPE throughout your home, and it can be melted down and reformed—without the need for any specialist equipment. It can be easily recognised by it's recycling sign with number 2 inside the three-arrow symbol.

HDPE Recycling Sign

So, if you are looking to save some money and lower your carbon footprint, read on to find out what home items you can easily melt down and use to create your very own home storage and décor items! 

This is also a great activity to do with young kids over the summer holidays!

Where can you find HDPE in the home? 

  • Shampoo and conditioner bottles 
  • Shower gel bottles 
  • Bleach bottles and other detergent bottles 
  • Reusable plastic water bottles
  • Chopping boards
  • Food storage containers 
  • Plastic jam and peanut butter jars
  • Condiment bottles
  • Yoghurt pots
  • Juice cartons
  • Milk jugs and bottle caps 
  • Waste and recycling bins 
  • Cereal box liner/packaging
  • Grocery bags 
  • Plastic cutlery and crockery 
  • Spray and cooking oils 
  • Garden signage 
  • Flowerpots and planters
  • Patio furniture 
  • Playground equipment
  • Compost bins 
Other home items
  • Children’s toys
  • Pipe systems 
  • Plastic hinges
  • Some pill/tablet bottles 

Before you can begin melting your plastic, you need to prepare the HDPE materials…
  • Begin by cleaning all your plastic items and removing any food, grease, or anything else that might be lingering. You should also remove all labels and glue from the HDPE product. 
  • You might need to clean some items in hot water multiple items to ensure that they are clean. Some HDPE items might remain sticky due to the glue used to adhere labels to their surface—it’s best to avoid using these pieces. 
Once all your HDPE home items are clean and dry, you can consider whether you need to shred them into smaller pieces. Professionally, HDPE is always turned into pellets before it is melted and reformed, but if you are only working with small products such as milk caps, you can skip this step. 
To shred HDPE at home you can…
  • Cut the HDPE products up into as small pieces as possible (aim for 1cm pieces) using kitchen scissors. This is a time-consuming, but foolproof method!
  • Alternatively, you can run small, thin sheets of HDPE through a paper shredder. This is a faster process, but after a while, you are likely to burn out and break your shredder so keep this in mind. 

That just about brings us to the end of this blog on HDPE items you can find throughout the home.

Now you have collected and prepared the HDPE items ready for recycling, you are ready for Part 2 of our Bored Kids Series, How to Melt HDPE Down for Reuse at Home - coming next week!

​You can find a range of cut-to-size plastics and recycled plastics in our store. Use our online calculator to get an instant quote today!  
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