At home, with proper safety measures, we can melt plastic for recycling purposes. Not all types of plastic can be melted at home. The most common and less toxic plastics that can be recycled at home are polyethylene and polypropylene, which are found in food packaging.
The most common is to have a portable oven and melt it inside that oven because it should not be done in the same oven where we will later put food.
The plastic must first be shredded, paying attention to the microplastics that should not end up in the garbage. Once crushed, it is added to the mold in which it will be melted and left for a minimum of 20 minutes at a maximum temperature of 190 degrees.
How to melt plastic bottles
There are many ways to melt plastic bottles. One of them is to take a metal container and add the bottle cut into small pieces. Fill the entire metal container and put it in the oven. If you can get a small stove and take it out of the house, this will prevent the melted plastic from sticking to another surface or the smell of melting plastic in the house.
You can set the stove to about 120ºC. Let everything melt well inside the metal container. You will see that some fumes may come out; as more plastic burns, these will be more harmful. Leave the container baking for about 4 minutes, and then increase the heat gradually. You can do this at intervals of 4ºC until you see that it is completely melted.
After the time has passed and it is well melted, remove the metal container without burning yourself. Then prepare a mold to shape the plastic. The mold can be any shape you want. Then pour the liquid material inside; you can help yourself with a wooden stick. Finally, let it cool completely. Then unmold, and you will see the figures made.
Finally, if you have made plastic flowers and you just want to give a little shape to the petals, just use a candle or a lighter and melt the edges a little. Do not put the heat source too close but at a safe distance so that it does not burn.
Ideas for molding plastic
Here are some ideas on how to use melted plastic and turn them into objects for another use.
Mold with reused materials
The first thing we have to do is to prepare the original piece that we will use to create the mold. To do this, first, clean the item thoroughly. Once clean, apply a release agent on the original piece to make sure that the original piece will come off.
The next step would be to cover the item with a layer of bubble eliminator to prevent bubbles from forming. We will place the original part inside a heat-resistant container.
The last step would be to pour the melted material over the original piece. Do it carefully and let the product cool down to harden. When this happens, the only thing left to do is to unmold.
How does it work?
On the website of Precious plastic, you can find all the videos and plans for creating the machines for free. They are educational videos because it starts from scratch, to know how to recognize what kind of plastic we have at home. In the second section, you can see how to collect the plastic and sort it (labels included). The third section is dedicated to explaining at what temperature to melt the plastic and how to mold it.
Here you have explanatory videos to create the machines. All the drawings, labels, etc, you need can be downloaded with just one click, free of charge.
What is the advantage?
You can use it not only to recycle products you already have but also to create new products, maybe it is a new way of income and work? The good thing about these machines is that it is totally Opensource, which means that at any time, you can modify them to make them to your liking. The possibilities are endless because you can use many different plastics and create as many molds as you want.