Decorative Plastic Tiles From Waste Plastic

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Introduction: Decorative Plastic Tiles From Waste Plastic

You'll need:
- Waste plastic material (stick to one recycling number)

- Industrial oven (or any heating mode)

- Fire-clay crucibles

- Tongs (to handle the hot, molten plastic)

- Heat resistant gloves (safety comes first, you guys!)

- Mould to shape the plastic tiles

You're all set!!

Step 1: Making Plastic Bits

First things first. The main material here is the plastic bits to make plastic tiles.

First start by collecting waste plastic, and group them according to their recycling number. That is, when you take any plastic material, inside the recycling symbol you'll find a number as shown in the picture. That is the recycling number. It basically tells you that what type of plastic material they are and their melting temperature differs based on that number.

So collect a large amount of plastic with the same recycling number and cut them up in tiny bits. Now you are ready to melt them (but keep in mind that a large amount of plastic bits will melt into a small ball of molten plastic when you heat them).

Note: while doing this project release of toxic products of plastic's thermal decomposition are very harmful to human (if highly exposed) and to environment if not treated properly. Also you might need a lab with proper ventilation and a protective mask is required.

Step 2: Melting the Plastic

This is quite a fun part! Assemble your plastic bits into a fire clay crucible (or any heat resistant container to melt the plastic) The group of plastic with recycling number one, two and three will melt over a range of 150 degree Celsius to 200C for a constant heat supply for about half an hour. Recycling number four and five will melt over a range of 250C to 350C for about half an hour but recycling number six is quite hard to melt. Make sure you're wearing your gloves/mittens. You can also add some color here to the plastic but I chose colorful plastic bits so I did not have to add any extra colors.

Step 3: Moulding the Plastic

Once you see that your plastic is starting to melt, it'll fuse with the other plastic bits. Once the plastic is completely molten, then you can pour your plastic to the mould to give your plastic tile a nice shape! I used a circular mould and hence mine turned our circular. But you can give it any shape you want!

Step 4: Trimming and Shaping

Let the plastic mould cool down first. After that you can trim the edges using a sand paper or cut off the extras (if any) and give it a good shape!

Step 5: Final Thoughts

First, I think that Plastic tiles has more potential than being just a project. Because it's really about time that we consider the amount of plastic that is being deposited as land fill everywhere and we have to find a way around to save our planet.

Second, it's really cool how you can make something useful and beautiful out of waste plastic and decorate anything you want, the way you want it to look like!

Third, Hope you have fun doing it, thank you!

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    8 Comments

    1
    jen.s.fair
    jen.s.fair

    1 year ago

    What about the extremely toxic products of plastic's thermal decomposition? You say "don't forget your mittens" but things you are really going to need are a lab ventilation and a good mask, to say nothing of the resulting environmental pollution. Also, the "final photos" are taken from the internet and it's professionally made ceramic tiles. They have nothing to do with your plastic prototype which is in fact lacking both aesthetic and safety properties, and posting them is unfair to your readers. Sorry but the project definitely needs to be improved.

    0
    lavanya4520
    lavanya4520

    Reply 1 year ago

    Yes, there are some extremely toxic byproducts but I guess doing this is better than just burning up plastic because of landfill(which is happening currently). There's actually a startup in Kenya where they recycle plastic waste into bricks that are stronger than concrete bricks so by trying to say how to make plastic tiles, I believe I'm not leading anyone astray here. You have to consider that I tried to do best with what equipment and resources I had access to. As of the picture from internet, that is only to say how well plastic tiles could turn out. Photos of what I have done are also included so are videos as a proof to what I have done and how it turned out. Anyway, thank you for pointing out the need for lab with proper ventilation, I'll be sure to put a note.

    0
    lavanya4520
    lavanya4520

    Reply 2 years ago

    You are welcome! :')

    2
    keithvgell
    keithvgell

    2 years ago

    If I was to make these and cover a house with them as a roof, would they present a danger should the house catch fire?

    Would they drip hot, moulten, possibly alight plastic on the people and flammable objects below?

    0
    lavanya4520
    lavanya4520

    Reply 2 years ago

    Hi!
    To cover it as roof, you need to take some precautions. First, you need to cote your plastic tile with fireproof substances like Melamine. Or you can also add antimony trioxide with a brominated compound to polyethylene while making plastic tiles. Antimony trioxide acts synergistically with brominated compounds to enhance fire-retardant properties by slowing down the combustion process. But they wouldn't drip hot and molten since its melting tempareture is quite high and also because they are heat resistant and bad conductor of electricity.

    1
    Neutrino-1
    Neutrino-1

    2 years ago

    Good job!

    0
    lavanya4520
    lavanya4520

    Reply 2 years ago

    Thank you!