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Hairyloon

Re-using plastics.

So, the world is full of plastics. Many of them are re-useable, largely by dint of melting them down and reforming them.
But this seems to be largely the preserve of big business, and I'm not seeing why it should be... except that I believe plastics can give off nasty fumes if heated too far.

But is that not simply a question of adequate temperature control?
vegplot

Some plastics are thermo-plastic others are not. It's difficult or expensive to sort between the two.
Hairyloon

Some plastics are thermo-plastic others are not. It's difficult or expensive to sort between the two.

That depends on the scale you are working on, or what you are trying to accomplish.
I'm talking about for example, cutting something up and welding it back together as something else, or maybe melting stuff down and re-casting.

Not, at this point with anything specific in mind (other than a gerbil wheel). I'm hoping inspiration will come once I start exploring the possibilities.
Nick

Fuel costs probably make it uneconomical, realistically.
Jamanda

Did you see the recent Bang Goes The Theory where they built a furnace to turn old plastic into diesel?
Hairyloon

Fuel costs probably make it uneconomical, realistically.

No, I don't think so.

Did you see the recent Bang Goes The Theory where they built a furnace to turn old plastic into diesel?
I didn't... I will. Thanks for the pointer.
Andrea

I saw an amazing blog where the guy was doing exactly that. My recollection is pretty hazy but I think he was creating panels of plastic out of milk bottles and lids, and using them to make a boat.

I'm almost sure I first stumbled upon the link here on Downsizer. Ring bells anyone?
OtleyLad

I've seen outdoor benches and raised bed boards made from recycled plastic bottles, etc.
Maybe if you could chop them up with something like a wood shredder, mix with some kind of resin/glue and press into moulds you could make all sorts of things?
Mistress Rose

As vegplot and others have said, not all plastics are thermoplastic, and some release toxic gases when heated. If you are thinking of welding or heating plastic, make sure you know what it is, and check it on the internet.

You need to know exactly what plastic you have and match ones with the same melting point. Anything you make by remelting is likely to have lower physical properties if it is mixed, and possibly even if just remelted. If you make something entirely of old milk containers, they should be more or less the same, but even there the formulation may be different causing different melting points.

Some things, plastic bags in particular, can be made up of layers of different plastics, and they are virtually impossible to separate and reuse.

Yes you can chop up plastic and embed it in epoxy; you can do the same with wood, metal or anything else too. Many years ago we used to make something at work called 'silencer gunk' which was epoxy mixed with zinc powder.
Hairyloon

I saw an amazing blog where the guy was doing exactly that. My recollection is pretty hazy but I think he was creating panels of plastic out of milk bottles and lids, and using them to make a boat.
That sounds very promising... probably more ambitious than I was thinking, but...

I've seen outdoor benches and raised bed boards made from recycled plastic bottles, etc.
Maybe if you could chop them up with something like a wood shredder, mix with some kind of resin/glue and press into moulds you could make all sorts of things?
I'd think that resin defeats the point when a bit of heat should do the job.
cassy

Atomic Shrimp OtleyLad

Atomic Shrimp

It's good to see someone having a go. The boat was very ambitious!
By making short (interlocking) blocks it might be possible to build raised bed walls though.
Although someone mentioned about UV degradation - but maybe it would not be a problem with blocks? What you don't want to end up with is bits of plastic all over the garden after a few years if the blocks disintegrate.
Bodrighy

I have seen boats made from plastic bottles that are sealed and fixed together. Google 'Bottle boat' and there are quite a few examples. Think I have seen buildings as well, I'll have a look.

Pete
Bodrighy

Here you go

This was glass beer bottles but I am sure something a little smaller or simpler could be done with plastic ones.

Pete
Hairyloon

Does anyone know of a glue that will effectively stick pop bottles? Bodrighy

Different types of plastic need different glue so I have found it a matter of experimenting on the odd occasions when I have wanted to glue plastic. Strongest bond is probably melting both parts though as said you need to be sure there won't be toxic fumes given off.

Pete
Hairyloon

Different types of plastic need different glue so I have found it a matter of experimenting on the odd occasions when I have wanted to glue plastic. Strongest bond is probably melting both parts though as said you need to be sure there won't be toxic fumes given off.
Pop bottles are a fairly consistent type of plastic (is it PET?), and I don't think they can be welded as, when heated they shrink faster than they melt.
dpack

i have used a hot glue gun on pet but it isnt very strong.sanding a rough patch before sticking helps a bit. john

Very Happy Idea Question 7-9-2014. Hi ALL, I hope you don't mind me saying, to see how I reuse lots of Waste Plastic Containers to grow things in please visit my website www.recycling.moonfruit.com or my FB group 3R's Waste Plastic Container Gardening ideas, I'm just trying to spread the word to help to reduce millions of tonnes of waste plastic containers going to landfill and help to feed millions of people at the same time, done in my own way, from me John.JRP. Smile Jamanda

Hi John. Glad to see you're still at it. Very Happy john

Hi John. Glad to see you're still at it. Very Happy 7-9-2014. Hi Jamanda, thank you, I'm just trying to do my bit Very Happy Hairyloon

Very Happy Idea Question 7-9-2014. Hi ALL, I hope you don't mind me saying, to see how I reuse lots of Waste Plastic Containers to grow things in please visit my website www.recycling.moonfruit.com or my FB group 3R's Waste Plastic Container Gardening ideas...
I have, and was reasonably impressed, but I didn't spot anything to help answer the question currently on the table: how to stick pop bottles...
dpack

the hot glue gun/sand the bits to be stuck thing is the best i found when doing quite big arty stuff with them

maybe just taping/tieing them etc would work , stuffing them into a frame can be a useful method.
Hairyloon

the hot glue gun/sand the bits to be stuck thing is the best i found when doing quite big arty stuff with them...
Yes, I'll try that just as soon as I find my glue gun. Wink
gregotyn

I work for a tractor dealer and we use stickers to attach cable ties to the sides of machines. The point being that the adhesive side must be good to stand up to the rigors of the farmers using these machines. Basically it is a sticky pad, on the front which is the holder for the cable tie. I will ask the question of the dealer who supplies the pads if he can find out exactly where the adhesive pad comes from-he can only say no at the worst! Hairyloon

Yesterday I did some experimenting with deep fried milk bottle.

I think I read somewhere that if you heat HDPE in oil, then it is a lot easier to avoid burning it.

The experiments were not entirely successful, but they were a long way from failures.
dpack

Yesterday I did some experimenting with deep fried milk bottle.

I think I read somewhere that if you heat HDPE in oil, then it is a lot easier to avoid burning it.

The experiments were not entirely successful, but they were a long way from failures.

wow Laughing Laughing Laughing
that is very ..im not sure of the word ... Cool
Mistress Rose

If you are heating HDPE to reform it, temperature control is the important thing. Hot oil will do the trick, but you need to know the softening and melting points of the plastic and go just above that. it depends on what you want to do. If you are wanting to make it into a molten blob then remould it, you will need a higher temperature (melting point, which may be a range of temperatures) than if you are just trying to reshape over a mould from the sheet (softening point), or in this case, bottle side. Hairyloon

Yesterday I did some experimenting with deep fried milk bottle.

wow Laughing Laughing Laughing
that is very ..im not sure of the word ... Cool
Thank you.
Top tip: use a good clean frying oil. All I'd got was 2nd hand chip fat and best quality cold pressed rapeseed. Neither was ideal. Confused
Hairyloon

If you are heating HDPE to reform it, temperature control is the important thing. Hot oil will do the trick, but you need to know the softening and melting points of the plastic and go just above that...
Nah you don't: just heat it up 'till it goes soft. Wink
Though I imagine it would help, and I do have some digital temperature control equipment I could use...
Hairyloon

I can see a lot of possibilities for it, if we can find a way to pick it up, but heatproof gloves are generally too thick to do that kind of work... gregotyn

Old silage sheeting is being used to make lots of things such as garden benches, but is also being turned into fencing stakes, as opposed to wooden ones. I will ask how next time I see them at a show, I think they are warmed and then exuded under great pressure through a hole to determine the shape and then, in the stakes' case, are cut to length and pointed. dpack

fence posts is a splendid idea.
rot proof,nailable ,a decent mass and fairly stiff
i cant think what is not to like about that
Mistress Rose

I have seen benches made of recycled plastic, and over time they tend to bend. I could see fence posts doing that and ending up banana shaped. They may work; I have never seen any, but certainly benches are nothing like as good as wooden ones. Ty Gwyn

Like Grego mentions,farm plastics turned into garden furniture,fence posts and land drainage pipes,
In-fact a farmer further up the mountain from where i used to live diversified into the farm plastic business 25yrs back,Birch Farm Plastics,they collect from the farm,they have a depot in Ammanford where the plastics are baled up and transported to Scotland,unless things have changed over the years,where they are turned into other products.
I have seen the garden furniture,in-fact they are quite robust,and only last week i saw some of the fence posts,3 x 3`s and look a good solid product,must look into the pricing as replacing the tanalised rubbish on the market is getting expensive and time consuming.
Nick

How long do we expect a timber fence post to last, realistically? The ones closest to the house here are in damp conditions, were out in new, 14 years ago, and, really, are towards the end of their life. Strikes me as a reasonable time.

I assume the plastic ones last a while. The alternative to reuse is what, burying? Burning? Not using plastic sheeting for silage? None of these seem ideal.
Hairyloon

Can the bent plastic posts not simply be reheated and reformed? Nick

Unlikely. They'll be in a field, with posts or wire and brambles attached and three feet deep in mud, four miles from the yard. Hairyloon

Unlikely. They'll be in a field, with posts or wire and brambles attached and three feet deep in mud, four miles from the yard.
I assume the buried bit will not have bent, so all we need do is come up with a portable post plasticiser...
I suppose you'll be telling me that ragging the engine out of a microwave oven for it would be a bad idea...
Ty Gwyn

Realistically,i doubt very much these plastic posts will bend,their as heavy as a wooden post.

14 yrs in the ground is`nt to bad Nick,there are some on this farm that were here before i arrived 28yrs back.

The last 10yrs i have done a lot of fencing here with the Tir Gofal scheme,laying hedges and double fencing,being i was getting paid a good percentage of the cost,i went for the supposed best on the market,Permaposts-tanalised and kiln dried,when they arrived,holding a post and banging it on the concrete yard,it ringed in ones hand,with the feeling of hardness,
Within 3 yrs of being in the ground i had to change 9 strainers,they had rotted off at ground level and loads of intermediate posts the same,
Next lot i had was imported Eastern European timber which has lasted fairly well.
Here in Lampeter we have the Danny Williams company tanalising fencing timber,the lorries are carting timber 12mths of the year,
One cannot tanalise timber properly when full of sap.
Hairyloon

Realistically,i doubt very much these plastic posts will bend,they're as heavy as a wooden post.
You can bend almost anything with the right tools.
Mistress Rose

It's not just the sap Ty Gwyn. The current tantalising is pretty well just copper; in the past it had arsenic and chrome in it too, and worked a lot better but of course those are more toxic. We have had some fence posts that fail in about 3 years. We now try to use sweet chestnut when we can. Luckily a lot of that is grown round our way. That has a life of up to 25 years with no preservative.

Still not sure about the plastic posts. Would be interested to hear from anyone that has used them about their long term reliability.
Hairyloon

It's not just the sap Ty Gwyn. The current tantalising is pretty well just copper; in the past it had arsenic and chrome in it too, and worked a lot better but of course those are more toxic.
True, but the toxins are pretty well contained in the wood, so that is only a problem if you are going to eat it.
gregotyn

There are snags with the fence posts; if the extruding machine is not operating at sufficient temp. to get some sort of physical bonding before they leave the machine they fall apart-spotted one at a road corner where the roadsign had broken, but suspect that is rare with good operators. Mistress Rose

Hairyloon, the sap stops the treatment penetrating, so can lead to poor preservation, not that the treatment comes out. Some must of course, and it was always recommended to wear gloves while handling tanallised wood, but it is dangerous for the operators treating the wood unless very strict precautions are taken. gregotyn

I am not sure where the treatment harms the operator as one is supposed only to use tanalith in a pressure treatment plant and it should not be applied by hand and treated timber should only be handled with gloves. The treatment goes into the timber almost by default as the first part of the treament process in the cylinder is to vacumm the wood to remove as much sap as possible. There is a problem with spruce as its cell structure is different to other timbers.
After the vacumn process and evacuation of liquid, the plant fills with tanalith treatment solution at the correct dilution and is forced into the timber by pressure. You should only handle pressure treated timber when it has dried, indeed it should not be moved from the plant until it has dried. After I went on the course for treatment by tanilith at Rentokil, I realised that this was not for me as I worked for people who would not want to wait for the treatment to cure and the timber to dry first, I ran the sawmill instead and pleased to do so as what I suspected proved to be right. As I understand the situation it may have been possible to obtain tanilising chemicals 'under the counter' and subsequently do a bad job of treatment and with potential health risk.
Ty Gwyn

As someone who has worked with timber David,you will know,

Spruce has a much more open structure compared to Larch,and tends to take in the Tanalising much better,Larch is more dense in structure and takes in less Tanalinth,

And by poor results in a lot of posts having a short lifespan,i`m sure Larch is the preferred timber for use by the treatment companies.
Hairyloon

Is larch not naturally durable? Ty Gwyn

Is larch not naturally durable?

Only European Larch as far as i know,its rough bark stands out from the commercially grown more commonly Japanese Larch.
Mistress Rose

I think larch has reasonable natural durability if it is really well seasoned by air drying, but otherwise, not much better than most softwoods.

David, I don't think your sawmills was the only one to try to rush the process. Chromium can give some very nasty ulcers, and of course arsenic is a known poison. We are being sold 'special' treated softwood posts now that are supposed to have a 10 year life with only copper treatment, but it sounds as if this 'special' treatment is what the tanallising was supposed to be in the first place. This leads me to suspect that most posts were just duncked in the treatment bath, seasoned or not, and didn't get fully impregnated, just coated.

As I said, we try to use chestnut now as it is naturally durable, and being in the south, there are plenty of them cut quite close to us.
Ty Gwyn

Chris,
What are the prices for these Chestnut stakes down your end?

As i noticed the other day there is somewhere fairly local to here now selling them.
gregotyn

It is true the spruce is more open than larch but the cell structure of the timber itself is less permeable than the cell structure of larch or douglas fir. The treatment will go into the spruce but a lot of it comes out and according to the "experts" at Rentokill thats why it rots sooner than larch. Tanilising is a mechanical process and dunking timber into a bath of chemical and water is not true tanilising, it relies on pressure and vacumn, for specific times, I would be surprised if you could buy a set up for less than 100k, but I'm not up on prices now been out of it for about 30 years. I am not so sure how just copper will kill all in timber, but is better I think than creosote from a health point of view! Presumably the copper is in the form of copper sulphate.
I would buy Larch posts over Spruce any day, John, for the above reason, but I'll make enquiries to make sure!
VM

Just going back to plastics for a moment - and I know this is a company rather than home recycling, but nevertheless thought they are interesting:

http://www.solwayrecycling.co.uk/about-solway-recycling
Mistress Rose

The prices one of our coppice group members gave in the spring are'
Round post 1 per ft.
Fencing stake 1/4 cleft 1.80

Haven't tried prices from our normal supplier recently, as we haven't been using many fencing stakes.

VM, Solway really have the recycled plastic market covered don't they. Don't know how long lasting the products are, and if they tend to warp or bend with age, but a good use for recycled plastic.

I was reading an article in Chemistry World yesterday about breaking down plastic and reusing the monomers. Not the sort of thing even you would do at home though Hairyloon.

Very Happy
Hairyloon

Because it sounds daft, not because I cannot... Mistress Rose

It involves equipment that you couldn't have at home, hydrogen, and lots of specialist expertise. It is only financially viable if you are using the broken down chemicals as feedstock for higher value material. Definitely a future industrial process, not for Hairyloons back yards.
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