Technicalities of recycling makes it more challenging than just throwing a plastic bottle in a recycling bin. Simple plastic bottles are more complex than one might think. The type of plastics used for different plastic bottles have different properties and this determines whether they can be reused for the same purpose or if it should be transformed to a new product. You may be surprised at how a single plastic bottle can be very complex since it has different components often made of different plastics. And so different bins or properties!
When dismantling a bottle be always cautious as some may have contained harmful chemicals (e.g. bleach) so do clean and rinse them properly. If you use blades, knifes and other sharp objects, try to always put safety first. Work on a clean bench/table with gloves if possible. And finally they are made of plastic so no flame as they will generate awful smoke! Be safe and enjoy!
- Scissors or a retractable knife
- Pliers (if needed)
- Large needle or something sharp and thin
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Step 1: Cleaning
The very first step is straightforward. Thoroughly rinse the plastic bottle and let it dry. Be aware of what it contains: bleach, sugar, conditioner...and dispose of the waste water properly! Some bottles may contain bacteria and fungi as well as insects sometimes as they too can enjoy a soft drink!
Step 2: The Labels
The first part of a plastic bottle is its label or sticker. Depending on the brand, taking out the label can be an easy or a difficult job. Some labels use a wrapper and glue, while others are heat treated. The labels themselves are different since some are made of nylon while others are paper. Using warm water is an excellent way to get rid of glue from plastic bottles. Carefully let the plastic bottle with the glue soak in the warm water until you can start peeling off the remainder of the glue from the plastic bottle.
Removing labels can prove to be difficult depending on the plastic bottles. However, it is best to try and keep the labels intact so that it can re-purposed.
You can use paper label to write down your shopping list or make a notepad (Scrap Paper Note Pad) maybe even to make paper mache for craft. Or paper paste(Paper Mache Paste) even paper brick (Paper Bricks)
Step 3: The Cap and Ring
The next part of a plastic bottle that can be taken out is its cap and ring. These parts are usually made from polypropylene (No. 5 plastic) but different caps of plastic bottles have very different parts. These parts can be recycled differently depending on your local recycling committee. Use a pair of scissors or a pen to separate the ring from the plastic bottle. To breakdown different types of plastic bottles, you will need something sharp and thin like a big needle. Sport caps are the worst
Step 4: Brainstorming About New Ideas for Caps and Rings
This step is not an official step but it's meant to show you just how complex a plastic bottle can be. Even just a bottle cap can have up to five components in it with different types properties. This gives you a lot of components to work with. We will have future posts on how to make these projects. Numerous people all over the world have started turning bottle caps into 3D printer filaments. However, if turning bottle caps into filaments is not your interest, you can transform these caps into other things. The rings themselves can be turned into a pair of earrings, or you can build your very own chess board complete with plastic cap chess pieces.
Step 5: The Bottle
The top part of the battle where the cap goes to is called the neck and is the densest part of the plastic bottle. That part is usually the toughest part of a bottle and it contains the most plastic. The favorable trait of this part of the bottle is that it’s universal system. Plastic caps work with cap finishes from different brand of bottles. There are numerous ways of reusing plastic caps and they will be shown in other post.
The rest of the bottle can be divided between the shoulder, body, and the foot. By dividing and cutting the plastic bottles differently, one has an endless possibility of how they can reuse these plastics. Keep checking on the page to see what more can come out of a bottle.