Plastic Yourself

Getting rid of plastic waste by re-using plastic bottles and bags as decoration! Something you can make yourself at him with simple tools and knowledge. Turorials and inspiration on https://plasticyourself.wordpress.com/ !

About Plastic Waste

For my own project I focused on recycling; Instead of making news things and produce even more, why not use the stuff that is already there and not used anymore? With this question I stumbled upon plastic pollution. About 10% of the total waste consists out of plastic. It is actually one of the biggest problem as most plastics are not bio- degradable.

There are different types of plastic and they are all numbered:

recyclecodes

-PET or PETE: Is a safe plastic used mostly of plastic bottles for one time use. Reusing these plastics however is not as safe as it first seemed. After a while it starts leaking toxins which can cause cancer as well has hormone disturbance.

-HDPE: High Density Polyethylene, is used for almost all the bottles from shampoo to children toys. This type of plastic is considered safe for use, reuse and recycling.

– PVC: Polyvinyl Chloride, is one of the most toxic plastics. As well as producing, using, reusing and recycling. It’s often used for objects that need to contain fluids (or keep fluids out)  for a long period of time. From origin it’s though material, thinning liquids are added for example producing shower curtains or  armbands for swimming.

– LDPE: Low Density Polyethylene, is used for a lot of everyday objects, bottles, wrapping plastics for food, plastic bags. Although is a more allusive material than HDPE, it seems just as safe in both use and recycle.

– Polypropylene: looks like HDPE, is pretty though but more flexible. It’s used for bath toys, straws and storage ware. It’s considered safe for use.

– Polystyrene: is a plastic used for plastic silverware, cups and throw-away-objects. It’s not bio-degradable nor is it safe to recycle or reuse. Never the less it’s still used for many a things.

The 10% plastic waste mostly consists out of HDPE, LDPE, Polystyrene, and PET(E). The reason is that the objects that are made of this material are not designed to last long. On average most of the things we buy we throw away within 6 months.

The World Counts made a small list of recent facts about plastic bags, which seems to makeup most of the plastic problem.

  • 160,000 plastic bags are used globally every second!
  • 5 trillion plastic bags are produced yearly. Side by side, they can encircle the world 7 times.
  • The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, which is a floating landfill of garbage in the Pacific twice the size of Texas, is mostly composed of plastic.
  • In 2008, a sperm whale was found beached in California. It died due to the more than 22 kilos of plastic found in its stomach.
  • Plastic will only start degrading after 700 years and will only fully degrade in 1000 years. This means that all the plastic that has ever been produced has not degraded yet.
  • Plastic bags remain toxic even after it breaks down. It doesn’t biodegrade, it photo-degrades. It means that after it degrades, it breaks down into smaller and smaller toxic bits of itself – and bleeds and contaminates the environment.
  • An average family will use 60 plastic bags on four visits to the supermarket.
  • Only 1 to 3% of plastic bags are recycled worldwide.
  • Plastic bags cause the death of many marine animals when they are mistaken for food.
  • Plastic bags were introduced to supermarkets in 1977.
  • In the North Pacific Ocean, there are 6x more plastic debris than plankton.
  • Plastic bags are produced using petroleum, natural gas and other chemicals. Its production is toxic to the environment.

It’s nice to know that we know what we are doing wrong, but how do we actually reduce this problem. Some people organize volunteering work were they clean up beaches or using fishing nets to clean oceans and sea’s. But does this really help if the amount of pollution that gets added is bigger than we can clean it up? It’s  scrubbing with the tap open.

I could go over the numerous possibilities that science and technology has pointed out on the what, the who and the why, but what does this mean to an average Earthican (myself included) who knows nothing about science or are just not aware at all. Very simple (not); create an idea or campaign that can be managed and understand by normal people, not only the people who are actively carrying about our environment.  That is why I created this very webpage. To provide answers to difficult questions.

About PlasticYourself

Plasticyouself is a project I started to reduce plastic waste in a non-hippie/eco-freak way but in an artsy way. I am an art student myself and I am currently researching the term ‘Craft’. How craft effects people, how people feel about making things with their own hand than rather the mass-production from the 21st century.

I combined this with the idea of recycling. Plastic waste, so bags, cups, can’s etc. are for a crafter or artist materials which they can use to make stuff. There is a little bit of base knowledge needed for processing plastics, but that is why I made this site.

The idea of reusing plastic waste to make people craft from plastic waste. It’s like Ikea-Hacking, the on the rise Do-It-Yourself (DIY) culture. I will do my best to give any information how you can DIY with plastic at home.

Manual and Safety

Molding or smelting plastics is not like baking cake. Here are some very important things have to take into account:

– 1: The risk of harm. If the hot plastic pasta touches you skin it’s sticks to you and you can burn yourself! Damaging you skin or worse.

– 2: Which brings me to the next point which is clothing. Don’t wear any clothing that catches fir easily. Something like a lab coat would be best but because not everybody has that, an apron will suffice. Things made ofpolyester is discouraged.

-3: Another point involving clothing is protection for your hands. First thing that comes to mind are fire resistant gloves. Gardening gloves are also might suffice as well but it depends on the material it’s made of. NO LATEX GLOVES!

-4: Mouth protection. Even when reheating LDPE and HDPE, which are considered relatively safe, there will always be a production of harmful/toxic fumes. Conduct your plastic crafting outside (balcony/garden). If you can not do it outside, were a mouth cap or if you have a exhaust hood in your kitchen.

-5: Read the descriptions of the plastics. Every plastic is different and so needs a different way or molding. Some valued information is mention on the About Plastic Waste page.

My own Experiment Tutorial

Worked Material

plasticmelt

PowerPoint Presentation: PLASTICYOURSELF

-Roos Kraaieveld, Animatie 2, 0884647, Design For impact

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