after a week of collecting my own garbage, i realized that the great majority of it came from ‘outside’ of my house. what i mean by that is, most of it is from things i bought, like food packagings, plastic or paper bags, plastic bottles, receipts, napkins, and aluminum foil. also when i say ‘the great majority of it’ i’m just giving an honest estimate of whats in my garbage incase there’re other stuff with greater quantity. i have some food left overs but it was very little. i eat all my food :).
from that ‘outside’ garbage, i found that i had more plastic bags than anything else. so, i thought it would a perfect fit to make something out of them for this project. i immediately thought about melting them, because that will use multiple plastic bags at once rather than making one thing out of one plastic bag at a time. there’s a terrifying amount of plastic bags roaming around the street and stuck on the trees and even around the house. some stores offer a collection service, but not all people return plastic bags for recycling, so they get thrown away after one use.
so if some recycling companies can’t melt down all plastic bags because they’re made out of ‘contaminated’ plastic then why not melt them at home and make simple things out of them? yes, it’s a little dangerous but it’s a lot safer to make simple materials rather than melting them down to liquid form and making complex objects. keeping that in mind i researched for different ways of melting them to a fusing point. i found that the safest way is to use a clothing iron to fuse them together and that would make a flat, strong material.
i collected all the plastic bags in my house to a giant ball of plastic, borrowed a clothing iron from a friend (surprisingly my family of 6 don’t own a clothing iron) and i prepared my working area; i covered a flat surface with paper and aluminum foil and put a fan close by. then i layered a couple of plastic bags and put another sheet of aluminum foil over it then i ironed it.
i needed to go over them a couple of times to completely fuse them together, but the results were amazing. ironing them made a strong, durable material that i can use for almost anything. it had all the plastic properties too so it was a successful attempt to upcycle plastic bags.
since i like to collect materials for future uses and while making this i had million ideas of what i could make out of this material. so i made more 🙂
im definitely going to keep doing this and scaling the material up and making things out of it. it is so fun to make and basically free. on top of that it helps a little bit with our ridicules masses of plastic that are contaminating the waters and hurting animals.
ill be stitching up a makeup bag with this material sometime soon. after a little accident in my bag involving my makeup and a few art supplies, i realized i need to separate my makeup and not leaving it thrown around in my bag, so i wanted to make it. running into this problem now, seemed like perfect timing since now i have a durable, waterproof material.