High-density polyethylene (HDPE) is a very commonly used plastic, and it's easy to get if you need sheets of plastic to cut for a project. Plastic itself often comes under fire from various quarters as being not very friendly for the environment, but it's also a handy material that doesn't shatter as easily as glass. There is a way to use plastic that is also environmentally friendly to an extent, and that is using recycled plastic. This is very easy to do with HDPE, and in fact, you've already likely used a lot of recycled HDPE in your life without knowing it. By buying recycled HDPE sheets, you can bring that environmentally sound practice into your business.
Any HDPE Can Be Recycled Into the Sheets You Use
HDPE is used for trash cans, bottles, and other common items. And any HDPE, assuming no chemical contamination has taken place, can be broken down and recycled for use in another HDPE item. The plastics are ground down and then melted, with the melted plastic remolded into tiny pellets or granules. Then, these granules are used to make new plastic items. When those plastic items reach the end of their life span or usefulness, they're again ground down, melted down, and reformed into more granules for another use.
Reuse Is the Best Way to Have Plastic and Still Be Eco-friendly
Because plastic doesn't break down easily (or at all, really, when you look at it on a microscopic level), recycling is the best way to still use plastic and be relatively eco-friendly about it. You're not requiring factories to make more new HDPE material, and you're not sending older items to a landfill where they won't ever degrade. Recycled HDPE can also be used for just about anything, although a lot of types of glue and paint might not adhere to it. However, you can get colored HDPE, so painting should not be an issue.
Recycled HDPE Is Clean
You will not be adding contaminants to your new project by using recycled HDPE. During the recycling process, the HDPE pellets are cleaned so that adhesives, labels, dirt, and other materials are removed. There may be some HDPE that is not recycled due to exposure to toxic substances, but a lot of the time, the big reason HDPE is not recycled is because people just throw it out.
As you cut the HDPE sheets to suit your project, keep the scraps together and ask the company from which you bought the HDPE where to take it for recycling. Many city recycling programs accept only things like bottles and do not cut plastic scraps, and the manufacturer will be able to give you tips about where to look to send the scraps back for more recycling.
Reach out to a company like Sandhill Plastics to find out more.