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Recycling plastic


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#1 Boleary

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Posted 09 May 2013 - 10:35 AM

Hi. I'm new to the forum but not new to model cars. I've been building for over 55 years, and still learning new things with every kit I finish. (Or even start.) I don't really specialize in any one type of car, but rather if I see an interesting vehicle at a car show, in a magazine, or online, I'll attempt to duplicate it in scale. I don't do a lot of customs or race cars, and would rather build something that I might have seen in my lower-middle class neighborhood growing up. That usually means something with a six cylinder instead of an eight, and something at the base level of the model types. E.g., a Biscayne rather than an Impala, a 150 rather than a Bel Air. I do have a soft spot in my heart for Ramblers, as my first car was a 4 door, 1961 Rambler Classic, in black with a grey interior. (And yes, those wonderful reclining front bench seats.) I have also been known to buy a lot of "basket case models" over the years and have usually been successful at restoring them, or at least giving them a second life as a " plain jane," or a beater. I guess that's a bit like recycling, but I have another type of recycling I'd like to mention. When I'm done with a new model, there is quite a lot of plastic sprue leftover. Sometimes it seems that there is just as much plastic leftover in the box as there is in the finished product. I hate filling up landfills with BLAH_BLAH_BLAH_BLAH that could be reused - especially when so many types of plastics seem to have a 50,000 year shelf life. Has the idea of recycling the leftover plastic trees back to the manufacturers ever been brought up? If so, has it ever gone further than a mere mention? Or maybe there's some chemical reason why styrene can't be recycled? Just thought I'd bring it up. As a wrapup, I just finished (today, in fact) Revell's '57 Ford Custom and it's quite a good kit. Everything fit (although the small caps don't seem to seat correctly on the rim) and I'm very happy with the results. Thanks for listening, and I look forward to hearing anyone's reaction to the recycling question. (Brian O'Leary)

#2 Ace-Garageguy

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Posted 09 May 2013 - 11:07 AM

Good idea. No really good reason waste kit styrene can't be recycled indefinitely, other than nobody's yet tried to make a case for finding any profit in it.

 

Recycling
90px-Resin-identification-code-6-PS.svg.
magnify-clip.png
The resin identification code symbol for polystyrene

In general, polystyrene is not accepted in curbside collection recycling programs, and is not separated and recycled where it is accepted. In Germany, polystyrene is collected, as a consequence of the packaging law (Verpackungsverordnung) that requires manufacturers to take responsibility for recycling or disposing of any packaging material they sell.

Most polystyrene products are currently not recycled due to the lack of incentive to invest in the compactors and logistical systems required. Due to the low density of polystyrene foam, it is not economical to collect. However, if the waste material goes through an initial compaction process, the material changes density from typically 30 kg/m3 to 330 kg/m3 and becomes a recyclable commodity of high value for producers of recycled plastic pellets. Expanded polystyrene scrap can be easily added to products such as EPS insulation sheets and other EPS materials for construction applications; many manufacturers cannot obtain sufficient scrap because of collection issues. When it is not used to make more EPS, foam scrap can be turned into clothes hangers, park benches, flower pots, toys, rulers, stapler bodies, seedling containers, picture frames, and architectural molding from recycled PS.[34]

Recycled EPS is also used in many metal casting operations. Rastra is made from EPS that is combined with cement to be used as an insulating amendment in the making of concrete foundations and walls. American manufacturers have produced insulating concrete forms made with approximately 80% recycled EPS since 1993.



#3 Harry P.

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Posted 09 May 2013 - 11:14 AM

I don't think all the leftover styrene trees from all the models sold would even be a drop in the ocean compared to the volume of other "waste" that gets recycled, like paper, glass, metal, etc. There's just not enough styrene waste out there to make recycling it profitable. And let's face it... recycling is about profit more than anything else.



#4 Ace-Garageguy

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Posted 09 May 2013 - 11:21 AM

Rather than just throwing the stuff away, a case could possibly be made for centralized, maybe hobby-shop barrels, collection of sprues. As noted in the wiki article above, in sufficient quantities the material "becomes a recyclable commodity of high value for producers of recycled plastic pellets".

 

My local Publix accepts plastic bags and styrene packaging for recycling, and I'm certain it adds at least a FEW bucks to the bottom line.


Edited by Ace-Garageguy, 09 May 2013 - 11:22 AM.