Why Plastic Materials Are Unfairly Blamed

Plastics have been around for over a century now, and are used in almost every industry and application. The problem is that society has made the plastics industry the poster child for waste, trash and pollution. This is unfair, and factually incorrect.

Plastic materials are lighter, cost less to produce, use less electrical power to produce, and are safer for use. It is not new phenomenon that a material or product, once used, gets thrown away. This is the normal life cycle of many materials. Some inexpensive plastic materials used in consumer goods are made to throw away once the item has been purchased. Things like the indestructible packing we fight on kids toys, the cheap plastic sporks from restaurants, the prolific plastic water bottles and of course, the plastic grocery bags. All of these materials are 100% recyclable, the hitch is that it requires a little effort to recycle.

Are Plastic Materials The Cause?

On the positive side, the products that plastic currently replaces are much larger, heavier and generally cost more to produce, and use more energy to produce. This means, that the large amount of plastics that are not being properly disposed of, are replacing much larger quantities of materials that would not be recycled. I still remember times when I was a kid, and seeing tin cans in the lakes and rivers when out Why Plastic Materials Get A Bad Reputation Why Plastic Materials Get A Bad Reputation Recycled Furniture made of HDPE milk jugs and detergent bottlesfishing. People polluting with their trash is not a new thing, now it is just a different group of materials.

Thermoplastic plastic materials are recyclable, and can be used over and over again. Generally, the recycled product would not be for a Food or Medical application. A common use of recycled plastic is with the collected milk jugs and detergent bottles, both HDPE, can be ground and turned into plastic lumber. The plastic lumber can be used to replace standard wood products for decks and outdoor furniture, and it will last for 15 – 20 years with no maintenance or painting. The cost savings and reduced use of natural resources for this one product can be staggering. The color doesn’t fade, it wood won’t split or crack, and it continues to look good for up to two decades.

Our recent article, “Plastic Material Bad Reputation – How did we get here?“, we discuss the factors that have lead to the ‘throw away’ society that we have become. Much of this bad reputation is for products that are designed as one use and then designed to be thrown away. So, if we are to change the bad reputation, companies need to change this design flaw, and start using materials for applications that can be reused easily.

If we can minimize the use of throw away plastics, and recycle the plastic material once we are done with it, we can help to limit plastic in land fills.plastic materials don't pollute, people pollute. Why Plastic Materials Get A Bad Reputation Why Plastic Materials Get A Bad Reputation 91cc 59ea

The blame for plastic pollution should be placed…on people. The plastic is not the cause of the problem, it is the litter-bug and irresponsible individuals that trash our planet. How do the plastic bottles and grocery bags end up in the ocean. They certainly don’t throw themselves in to the ocean, it is lack of responsibility and negligent behavior.

It really only takes a couple of seconds to throw something into a recycle bin. Even better would be to reuse the plastic bottles or plastic bags. Plastic materials are not the problem, empathetic people are the problem.

Google+ – Hayden Hess

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Topic: Plastic Materials Get Bad Reputation Unfairly

“What is a good material for vacuum forming?”


This is a
popular question received from clients. This question has a rather long answer. Most Thermoplastic materials are thermo-formable, and thus vacuum forming compatible. Some of the most common and easier materials for forming are listed below.

Common Vacuum Forming Materials:Vacuum Formed PETG Part Looking For Vacuum Forming (Formable) Plastics Looking For Vacuum Forming (Formable) Plastics petg formed part

Each plastic material has a variety of different properties, and they form at different temperatures. The Acrylic, PETG and Polycarbonate sheets are normally clear (can be special ordered in colors), however the Polycarbonate may have to be heat dried prior to the vacuum forming temperature phase (depending on thickness).
ABS and HIS both form very well, and are normally White or Black. The ABS normally has a fine texture called Hair Cell on the primary surface, the Styrene is smooth on two sides. On a special basis Styrene and ABS can be run in almost any thickness up to .375″ thick, and in almost any color (minimums apply) and in a huge range of custom run sheet sizes.
While many other materials may be available for special applications and with various improved properties, these are the most commonly available and used materials.
Some of the important factors in choosing a material for your vacuum forming project would be: clarity, strength of finished part, temperature, depth of draw, UV resistance, Flame Retardant Rating, thickness and size range.
Vacuum Forming Mold 300x183 Looking For Vacuum Forming (Formable) Plastics Looking For Vacuum Forming (Formable) Plastics Looking For Vacuum Forming (Formable) Plastics Vacuum Forming MoldChocolate Molds 300x200 Looking For Vacuum Forming (Formable) Plastics Looking For Vacuum Forming (Formable) Plastics Looking For Vacuum Forming (Formable) Plastics Chocolate Molds

Large parts can be produced using this process, for example – Hot Tubs and Pick Up Truck Bed Liners. Also vacuum forming is used to produce very small parts like chocolate molds and numerous packaging applications.

Most vacuum formers started in their garage (or kitchen). A simple vacuum forming ‘machine’ can be produced at very low cost using 2 X 4 wood, peg board, and your shop vac. Obviously this is not the way the above hot tub was formed, but the process is rather simple and is much more an art than a science. We have seen several YouTube videos showing entry level – DIY style vacuum forming machines.  Most use the kitchen oven as the heat source and are used to make small chocolate molds, wax molds, hobby parts and more. Many materials can be used in this simple process, and we are happy to assist you with your basic questions of the vacuum forming process.
There are also a wide range of commercial thermoforming machines (see video) available, in almost unlimited range of sizes.

There is a wide array of materials that can be used, and they have different properties – no one material meets all your needs. Contact us for details on your vacuum forming requirements or with question.

Google+ – Hayden Hess