Small batch HDPE Recycling
If you’ve ever priced materials such as aluminum steel or plastic for making small parts or prototyping you know how expensive it can be. This of course is why I end up melting down aluminum and in this case, plastics.
The easiest and most prevalent home recycling of plastics is done with HDPE, or “Number 2”, recyclable plastic. It’s easy to find, inexpensive, and holds up well to machining, and abrasion, but can be easily recycled in the home shop.
The first step in the process is to make sure you’re using HDPE. You can identify it by the recycling label on the plastic itself. Also… Not all HDPE will react the same under recycling conditions. You need to sort the materials you plan to process into “like” groups. Mixing materials from different sources can lead to plastic that is unusable.
Obligatory safety notes
- Melted plastic is hot and sticks to everything, including skin.
- Wear Eye Protection, leather gloves, long sleeves, long pants, shoes, etc.
- Melting plastic can produce toxic fumes and smoke. I only do this outside. Proper ventilation is mandatory.
- This process does NOT produce food safe plastic…