WORKSHOP: FIRST SORTING AND MELTING

Fig 1. Dennis, Natasha. “Sorting + Shredding Plastic” Vimeo. n.d. Accessed October 23, 2017. https://vimeo.com/235132404

Prior to sorting and melting the plastic it was essential to first research the material safety data sheet (MSDS) and apply a risk assessment for working with HDPE and LDPE plastics. Considerations for workshop include:

  • PPE must be worn at all times, leather gloves, eye protection, filter mask, apron.
  • Melting and machining plastic within an exhausted booth to allow for good ventilationin case of harmful fumes.  
  • Dust and off cuts are collected with vacuum whilst working to ensure material does not enter environment. 
  • Melting plastic well below 300 degrees Celsius.

PROCESS

Initializing an environmental waste processing system will take some time so, I would first like to a experiment with different effects and shapes I can create with the plastic waste collected from my family home. I will begin experimenting with high density polyethylene (HDPE) and low density polyethylene (LDPE).

Fig 2. Dennis, Natasha. “Melting #1” Vimeo. n.d. Accessed October 23, 2017. https://vimeo.com/235131431

  1. Sort plastic into different categories (the different types of plastic will not be mixed to ensure re-recycling at the end of the products life)
  2. Shred plastic down into finer pieces making sure to remove glue and paper residue (making re-fusing more successful).
  3. Place shredded plastic in a mould with weight applied to the top.
  4. Place mould in heat source.
  5. Once melted remove mould from heat and allow plastic to cool. 

Fig 3. Dennis, Natasha. “Melting #2” Vimeo. n.d. Accessed October 23, 2017. https://vimeo.com/235131164

Fig 4.  Dennis, Natasha. 2017. Failed melting attempt. Photograph [author’s own}

Fig 4. Dennis, Natasha. 2017. Failed melting attempt. Photograph [author’s own}

Initially I would have liked to use an oven source to melt the plastic, however I was provided with a microwave to use within the workshop. The first issue I had was with the plastic sticking to the glass as it melted which I tried to rectify with a release agent, second, was that microwaves do not work at heating the plastic to the point of re-fusing. 

Moving forward I will need to source a different type of heat source which will resolve the issue. However, looking at the parts that did fuse, the piece gives an insight into the great textures I can create when the melt is right. 

Fig 5.  Dennis, Natasha. 2017. interesting finish and colours. Photograph [author’s own}

Fig 5. Dennis, Natasha. 2017. interesting finish and colours. Photograph [author’s own}

Fig 6.  Dennis, Natasha. 2017. interesting finish and colours. Photograph [author’s own}

Fig 6. Dennis, Natasha. 2017. interesting finish and colours. Photograph [author’s own}