“Nike, what are those things out here in the corridor?” my mom is calling from outside. She found my little home plastic recycling set up that I gathered to start testing some simple PE and PP recycling methods. I tell her the great news and add proudly: “at least I am not using your oven…”. She shakes her head and gently moves the stuff a little out of the way.
There have been a couple of those moments in my parents’ house lately…and I think my parents are afraid I will turn their dining room (where I currently live) into a chemistry lab for playing with pyrolysis and a production center for stuff made from recycled plastic. They know what happens when I set my mind on something. I tend to go a bit over the top wanting to do everything all at once.
The only thing that is missing now: the precious plastic! If I want to produce recycled products, then I need something to make them from. I already gimped over to the recycling bag to look for my new favorite resource: HDPE, LDPE, and PP. There is hardly anything in the bag. Not very surprising. For quite a while I have been nagging my mom about reducing unnecessary plastic in her life.
A soda streamer was bought, plastic wraps were exchanged for bee waps, my sister got her a set of reusable veggie bags. My mom never used single used plastic bags before so there wasn’t anything to improve in that department.
I catch myself at being a little disappointed about the small yield. A body wash container (not mine, I use natural soap bars) and … Ok, let’s check the fridge…nope, not much.
All of a sudden I long for what I usually detest and try to avoid: plastic trash. I need input for my production line. It’s a good thing I cannot go to the supermarket with my broken heel. I fear I might be snooping through the shelves on the hunt for plastic containers with pretty colors.
“Mom, do you mind if I pour your detergent into a different container?” Rolling eyes.
I call up my friends. “I need your help…” and now I have a little army collecting their PEs and PPs for me. All of a sudden, I wish that my friends were less ecologically friendly in their consumer choices. Funny how you get a different perspective on things when the circumstances change.
In the end, recycling your own household plastic trash does exactly what we are aiming at: it lets you see something that is usually looked at as annoying useless waste as a precious resource. I cannot wait to be mobile again and go to the beach to see how much better a beach clean up will feel now that we are working on a set up to turn the marine plastic trash into something useful.