Week 1: Trash to Treasure (Re-using Plastic)

Over the next 5 weeks I am re-using the litter I pick to create new items that will give purpose to somebody and hopefully preventing that same plastic from ending up as litter once again.

 

plastic containers
Plastic containers that I collected for re-use

 

Why do we need change?

  • Plastic is not sustainable as it takes hundreds of years for just a single plastic bottle to degrade.
  • Microplastic can be found in the fish we buy, the bottles of water we drink and the taps we turn on; again, this is not good for our health.
  • Plastics are made from fossil fuels; 195 counties came together and agreed they will do everything to stop global temperatures rising. (You can read the key parts of the Paris Agreement here)

There are many reasons why we should be making the transition from plastic to sustainable materials but here are just a few images showing the impact plastic is having on our environment from all over the world.

 

 

Fortunately, more and more people are making that change and helping the environment. Thanks to social media and the power of the internet, we are becoming more aware of the problems we face but from that, we are also being shown creative ways that we can reduce these problems.

re using plastic soda bottles
An artist is creatively re-using littered plastic bottles to create strong furniture.

 

Earlier this week, a friend sent me this video showing an artist collecting plastic soft drink bottles and re-using the plastic bottles to create structurally strong furniture. This is obviously only a start and them same bottles could be used for many practical reasons.

 

 

So, here are the containers that I collected last week. Different plastics have different properties meaning they various melting points and behave differently; these particular ones are HDPE plastic with a melting point around 160degrees celcius. Once you reach the melting point, the plastic becomes almost putty like and gives off no fumes. This is the first time I have used the plastics so I am still getting to terms with using it but I can definitely see some great uses rather than letting the plastics end up as litter.

products created from hdpe
Not perfect but for a first attempt, you can see the different items we can create using littered plastic.
leftover hdpe
Any left over plastic can be used again rather than throwing it away.

 

During the week, with the plastic I collected, I created 3 juggling balls, 2 coasters and 2 tent pegs. Though they are not perfect, you can see that these are completely different from what they were originally.  By re-using these plastics, we can save money from having to purchase the same items in shops; take tent pegs for example, instead of purchasing new ones you could simply make your own as they are just as strong.

I will come back to this again and use HDPE to create other practical items that will be just as good as something you can purchase in a shop (I need some strong moulds though as the plastic does change during the cooling period).

 

Anyway, let me know what you think and please let me know some other practical items I could create which may be of benefit to you so that we can reduce the amount of litter we see on our streets and in our oceans.

 

Week 1 – Plastic containers 

Week 2 – Plastic Bags (I have pushed the plastic bottle caps back a week because I still need more for the idea I have; there are lots of plastic bottle caps out there on the street but I need more!! Sunday, I will be re-using littered plastic bags)

plastic bags.jpg

Week 3 – Plastic bottle caps

Week 4 – cigarette butts

Week 5 – Aluminium

 

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