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How can I reuse or recycle old orthopedic casts?

Plaster castWe’ve had an email from Lauren, who is year 8 (age 12) in New Zealand.

She explains:

In class we are currently working on science projects. I have chosen to investigate the difference between plaster and fibreglass casts. My project looks at environmental issues and disposals.

Could you please help me with the following questions? Can plaster and fibreglass casts be recycled? What type of product could these be made into?

I meant to feature casts on the site a few months ago when Estelle asked about her plaster feet models but then forgot.

As I mentioned when talking about fibreglass in general in May, it seems that it can be recycled but I couldn’t find any details of schemes or companies doing it.

And apparently plaster can be recycled almost indefinitely – although most places are thinking of it in terms of plasterboard, not orthopedic casts so getting an individual leg pot back into the plaster system might be easier said than done. (Having said that, this page gives instructions on how to reclaim the plaster in casts for kids to reuse making models.)

Anyone know of any schemes to recycle either fibreglass or plaster ones, either through hospitals or for individuals?

Or other reuses for the old casts?

(Photo of a cast removal by central)