Posts tagged "pvc"

How can I reuse or recycle old PVC pipes?

We’ve had an email from Madhvi asking :

how can I creatively recycle old PVC pipes?

We’ve covered some reuses for guttering and drainpipes – which are increasingly plastic these days – but I thought it was worth asking Madhvi’s question because PVC pipes come in all sorts of diameters and lengths.

A few months ago, when I was looking to build us a laundry basket for the bedroom, I spotted this PVC pipe laundry hamper project, which I thought was a very neat idea. Depending on the size, that could possibly be made from offcuts or the idea shrunk down if you only had smaller pieces available. In a similar constructed-with-plumbing-joints vein, I also like the idea of this PVC pipe laptop stand and this bike stand.

As for smaller reuses without additional parts, I like this bathroom storage idea – I’m not sure how many people have two sets of curlers but it’s an adaptable idea, especially regarding the cables. You could use them to tidy up electric cables under desks/behind TVs etc – if all the cables go through sections of pipes, they’re less likely to be underfoot and get tangled. (If the end plugs are too wide to go through the pipe, you can cut slot in it to slide the cable through instead – this guy was doing it for something a little different but this is what I mean by a slot.) Similarly, you can use them instead of kitchen roll/toilet roll tubes for storing electric wires & extension cables when they’re not in use – we’re a geeky household, we’ve got a lot of spare wires ;)

And that’s all before we start thinking about ideas for the garden!

As for actual recycling, PVC recycling has increased over recent years but it’s still not as commonly collected for recycling as some other plastics (and it’s harder to recycle too). If you have a lot of pipes to get rid of, contact your local council’s waste department to see if they can accept them for recycling – or if they’re still in a new/usable condition, pass them on to someone else yourself through eBay, Freecycle/Freegle or Craig’s List etc.

How would you reuse or recycle old plastic/PVC pipes? Have you used them anywhere interesting around your home or garden?

Advice for arguing against plastic credit-type cards instead of card cards?

I’m possibly a bit late with this now (sorry Su!) but I just spotted this question and wondered if anyone had any advice/info/suggestions for further research.

Good friend of Recycle This and The Really Good Life Su asked:

Next week I am at a conference all week. One of the motions for discussion (which is supported) is about replacing union reps and H&S reps existing card cards with plastic credit card type. If this motion actually gets discussed (it probably won’t get prioritised) I intend to speak against the motion.

However, I need as much ‘ammunition’ as possible and wondered if anybody knew anything about the emissions released during manufacture, how long if ever, they take to degrade & anything else that might be relevant. Call this pre-emptive reducing!

I know that most credit cards are made from PVC which is hard to recycle, doesn’t readily breakdown and releases nasty chemicals if burned and during its manufacture – Greenpeace want PVC restricted/banned, as it already is in some European countries. It is possible (just a bit more expensive) to have credits cards made from PET (plastic code 1) — that’s a lot more widely recycled but still obviously uses resources in its manufacturing.

A bit of digging turned up this story from Slate magazine in 2009, which says about PVC cards:

It takes about 4.25 grams of petroleum to manufacture one 5-gram credit card. Multiply that by 1.6 billion — the number of credit, debit, and ATM cards produced in America in 2007 — and we’re looking at roughly 45,000 barrels of oil a year just to make the plastic that feeds our late-night eBay sprees. Granted, that’s a drop in the bucket compared with the 20 million barrels Americans consume daily. But those figures don’t include the billions of gift cards, loyalty cards, and store charge cards we stuff in our wallets each year.

And apparently:

In addition [to the petroleum], a variety of laminates, inks, dyes and other chemicals are used in their production.

Anyone else got anything else Su could use?

How can I reuse or recycle PVC aprons?

We’ve had an email from Ann:

The centre where I work has just rebranded and they’ve made us get rid of all the protective aprons we use for messy art classes as they had the old name on them. I think they’re PVC. Can they be recycled?

I would have thought most textile reclamation companies would accept them – because before actual recycling, they might be reusable by people less bothered about having the correct brand on them. Similarly there may be community groups in your local area that would like them – but it does, unfortunately, depend on how obsessive the organisation is about the brand stuff — I know some places are really annoyingly single-minded about that sort of thing and will send all sorts of new items to landfill to avoid any confusion about their current name/logo.

Could the aprons be adapted or repurposed so they can still be used internally? I’m imagining they’re full length aprons – if the logo is just on the top bit, could it be covered up? Or cut down to make a waist apron?

Or could the non-branded bits of the apron be upcycled into something else? Placemat-style table coverings? Might be useful for messy sessions.

Any other ideas for reusing/repurposing/upcycling them? Or actual recycling suggestions?

How can I reuse or recycle an old pond liner?

We’ve had an email from Martyn:

Can solid pond liners be recycled? If so, where please?

As far as I can see, rigid pond liners tend to be made from fibreglass and as we discovered last time we had a fibreglass item on here, fibreglass can be recycled but isn’t widely done so.

A better idea would be to reuse the pond liner. They apparently have a 20 year lifespan as ponds but after that they, presumably, begin to leak. (No one mentions what happens after that 20 years – I hope it’s start to leak and not explode violently killing everyone in a 50m radius. Because that would be bad.) If you don’t need it as a pond any more, offer it on Freecycle/Freegle to someone who wants one. Or if it’s started to leak and is beyond repair, you (or someone else) might want to use it as a planter or the like.

Any other ideas?

And what about reuse ideas for flexible PVC pond liners that have been damaged or are leaking?

How can I reuse or recycle an exercise ball/posture ball chair?

exercise-ballJohn is very taken with the idea of getting an exercise ball to use when he wants a change from his desk chair in our new office. He’s used them at other people’s desks and he likes the idea of bouncing while he works.

I’ve always poo-poohed the idea because we have cats who like to stretch up against furniture then dig in their very long, very sharp claws – not exactly compatible with inflatable furniture – but a friend told us his cat did that too and it wasn’t a problem because the PVC plastic is so thick. Then suddenly, mysterious, he found himself sitting considerably lower in the chair thanks to a claw-sized slow puncture. Claws one, inflatable thing nil.

So we won’t be getting on now but what are the options for reusing an old exercise ball? A single puncture or two could probably be repaired with a bicycle puncture repair kit but if the problem is more systemic, it might not be worth repair – so what else can be done with it?

I suspect with a bit of handiwork, they could still be used as seats – filled with beanbag balls instead of air – but I wonder if the sliced up “skin” could be used for anything else too…