21st May, 2018

How to Dispose of HDPE Plastic: Uses for Recycled Plastic

What Would You Do for $10,000?

In 1869, A New York firm offered $10,000 to anyone who could find a substitute for ivory. Ivory was a very strong natural resource made from elephant tusks and used for jewelry and art, and was growing scarce due to questionable and unethical procurement methods. It was no surprise that alternatives were being sought after.

A man named John Wesley Hyatt accepted this challenge and invented the first synthetic polymer (celluloid). Celluloid is known as the precursor to fully synthetic plastic. Then in 1907, Leo Baekeland publicly announced his invention of Bakelite, the world’s first completely synthetic plastic. More complex than celluloid, Bakelite was harder and thicker and wasn’t as brittle, which allowed more uses for this new material.

Plastic has been around for over 100 years and has enhanced the lives of humans by creating everything from a sterile packaging material to drinking straws. For example, milk jugs, produce containers and medical devices, such as disposable needle cartridges, are commonly made from plastic. Plastic is often a more cost effective solution to glass, it allows food to be transportable using plastic containers and has brought medicine costs down because of plastic packaging.

While plastic has enhanced human lives, it also gets a bad “wrap” in regards to the environment. While it certainly has enriched the lives of humans, it is shown to have negative effects on the environment. One of the biggest challenges that we face is that humans are not disposing of plastic properly, which is causing a build up of plastic in our oceans and landfills.

Ways to Dispose of HDPE (High-Density Polyethylene)

Here are three common ways to dispose of plastic. While all of these methods are common, only one is environmentally-friendly and allows the plastic to be reused.

Thermal Treatment (Burning) – When plastic is burned, harmful gases are emitted into the air like carbon monoxide, chlorine and dioxins which can cause health problems when inhaled.

Landfill – Another way to dispose of HDPE plastic is to throw it into a landfill. This is a place where the plastic can degrade over time. However, it takes over 400 years for HDPE to degrade, so most of it still exists in some form, oftentimes in a landfill. With the landfills getting overrun by waste, we are running out of “storage room” for our plastic waste.

Recycling – Reduce. Reuse. Recycle. Recycling is the most environmentally-friendly way to dispose of plastic waste. More cities in the United States have adopted recycling programs, and some cities have even issued a mandatory recycling program like Seattle, Pittsburgh and San Diego. These programs make it easy to recycle plastic and other waste and sell it to companies to use to manufacture into useful products. The plastic waste is then converted into usable material. It reduces the amount of waste sent to landfills and incinerators and prevents pollution of our air and waters, making the environment a safer place for living organisms.

Interesting fact: Only 9% of plastic is recycled around the world. The other 91% is either being burned, put into landfills or disposed of incorrectly. This equals approximately 6.3 billion metric tons of plastic, which produces enormous amounts of waste that pollutes our environment.    

Since the problem is growing, so is awareness of this issue. There are many suggestions to help remedy this global issue. One way is to reduce the amount of plastic that is used by incorporating small changes into daily life like bringing your own grocery bags and eliminating the use of straws. Another way is to recycle. While this seems pretty simple, constant reminders are needed to increase the amount of people who participate in recycling best practices, so that the product can then be put to good use.

At Bedford Technology, we take recycled HDPE plastic and create structural, durable and environmentally-friendly products that can be used for numerous applications in a wide variety of commercial markets. How do we do this?

Environmentally-Friendly Engineered Recycled Plastic Lumber

Manufactured using an environmentally-friendly process, our products are made out of recycled plastic (milk jugs and laundry detergent bottles). At Bedford Technology, our innovative in-house engineering and product development team keeps recycled plastic out of the landfills and oceans by constantly coming up with new applications and ways to improve our existing product lines. So far, we have kept millions of pounds of HDPE plastic out of the landfills and have engineered these materials into an strong and durable product. To further explain, here are some of the most common applications that our recycled structural plastic lumber is best suited for.

5 Most Common Applications

Fencing – Building fences using traditional wood, metal and concrete can break down over time. Utilizing recycled structural plastic lumber instead can increase the longevity of your fencing system and decrease maintenance cost and savings over time by eliminating the need to replace.

Marinas – Our plastic lumber can work for many applications in the marine industry. From docks and piers, dolphins, bridge protection systems, retaining walls and more, Bedford Technology products are resistant to marine borers, will not rot, corrode, or decay in harsh environments. They are also non-leaching, so we can continue to preserve our waters and marine life by using an environmentally-friendly product that is built to last.

Playground Equipment – Playgrounds are meant to be a safe-haven for children where they can let their imaginations run free. These playscapes should help spark creativity and provide a safe environment to get some exercise. With a custom range of colors, shapes and profiles, and product that won’t splinter, degrade or rot, Bedford Technology products are the perfect and safe material to entertain your child for hours.

Landscaping – Our materials are well-suited for all types of landscaping projects. Since these structures and fixtures are installed in an outside environment, choosing a product that can withstand extreme wind, heat, cold and snow is a thoughtful consideration. Recycled plastic timbers work great for retaining walls, raised garden beds, signage, park benches and picnic tables, trash receptacles and more.

Decking & Substructures – These two applications go hand-in-hand. You can’t have one without the other, and it just so happens that recycled plastic lumber is a great alternative to wood for both of these projects. An important thing to keep in mind is that the substructure, while invisible to many, is what supports the decking. If you’re looking for a decking system that last for decades, consider using Bedford Technology products for your next installation. Our products cut, drill and saw like traditional wood, and come in a variety of textures and strengths to suit your specific project.

So, Here’s the $10,000 Question: Are You Ready to Take Your Projects to the Next Level with Recycled Plastic Lumber?

Help keep our waters and landfills clear and contact us today for more information on how to get started with your project!