Whether you’re designing a product, making a prototype, or doing an art project, your materials matter. This is especially true considering the amount of waste produced each year. No matter what your project is, you should think about how to use materials that can be recycled when you’re done with them. Many different kinds of plastics can be recycled, but if you need a material that is also strong and durable, consider these three types.
High-density polyethylene, or HDPE, is a very common type of plastic partly because of how versatile it is. It’s used for a wide variety of applications from food containers to piping to sports equipment. It’s even used for 3D printing and medical implants. It’s incredibly strong, but once it reaches its melting point, it can be easily molded or shaped to match your needs. HDPE sheets are also easy to cut or weld together. Because HDPE is so malleable, it can also be recycled at least 10 times.
Polyethylene terephthalate is the most commonly recycled type of plastic. It’s known for being both strong and lightweight, which gives it a wide range of applications. It’s most often used as food and liquid containers, electronics, and automobiles. Recycled PET is also very commonly used in the fabric and textiles industries. PET is the most common type of plastic used to make polyester, which is in a large percentage of today’s clothing. It makes clothing less likely to tear, wrinkle, or wear out, and also helps make a lot of clothing cheaper for both producers and consumers.
Polypropylene is extremely resistant to corrosive materials, so it’s an excellent material to hold strong acids or bases. Because of that, it’s the most common plastic packaging material and is also a common material for industrial work. It has a shorter lifespan than some other plastics, and is often not recycled. This is particularly unfortunate considering that recycled PP has a wide variety of applications including clothing, furniture, piping, and insulation.
When you’re creating anything new, you need to think about what will happen to it after consumers have finished with it. Choosing the right materials for your product, that packaging, and any accessories ensures that your creation has a lower impact on the environment. If your product requires plastic, try to use plastics that can be easily recycled and reused in future products.