Hey there fellow crafters, you may be wondering what is this?
WELL since I have been browsing for quite a long time I've had the great opportunity to see many AMAZING projects. I've also had the chance to see many amazing products dealing with the reuse of plastic. I myself have wanted to attempt some of this but there is a major concern that came to mind.
Melting plastics? Isn't that TOXIC?
So I went around the internet to see what I could find out and since this isn't something that will pop into everyones mind often I even provided a simple poster attachment so you can print it out and hang it up to help you identify your plastics. As for below, these are the safety precautions for each and ever one :]
Hope it helps! Feel free to ask questions!
On most plastics there is a recycle sign which carries a number from 1 - 7
Each number represent specific types of plastics, with the exception of 7 which is anything that cannot be categorized in the first 6.
Different plastics react differently to fire, some catch on fire, some melt, and others will barely do anything.
Most plastics carry some signs of toxicity due to the creation process being as such. But some are significantly safer than others.
Type 1 [PETE]
PETE is the plastic that is used the most on here as most water bottles are made from this. It is also one of the more common plastics used and melts when in contact with fire.
PETE plastic is notorious for the high amounts [by health guidelines] of Antimony and carcinogens that it can leach into water. These can also be released by burning and melting this plastic.
Avoid melting this plastic, there are tons of crafts that you can do without having to expose it to heat.
IF you do feel the need to melt or warp PETE, try using the hot boiling water method instead, as this is much safer when expelling fumes. Also remeber to ALWAYS WORK IN WELL VENTILATED AREAS
Type 2 [HDPE]
HDPE, I kind of love this plastic since it is the safest plastic out there. It also is the easiest to recycle and it has become a safe alternative to many other plastics and substances. Majority of Milk jugs and Detergent bottles are made from this.
Things To Know:
It is safe to refill HDPE containers or water bottles as it does not leach anything. HDPE is a very STURDY plastic and does not melt unless under VERY extreme heat. Sadly this means it lacks flexibility but it is very good for support needed in projects.
You can use this plastic with out any concern. But it does not really melt.
TYPE 3 [PVC]
PVC is the most DANGEROUS plastic produced today, next to PC[discussed in #7] However this is another plastic that I have seen melted a LOT on here. PVC is also known as Vinyl. Most Records are made from Vinyl.
PVC leaches Carcinogens as well as Lead. Also when exposed to heat it emits one of the most dangerous pollutant and toxin, Dioxin.
You can use PVC but avoid at all cost from melting it.
Again if you positively do feel the need to melt it, use the hot boiled water method instead of directly exposing it to flames. Again do this in a WELL VENTILATED AREA.
TYPE 4 [LDPE]
LDPE is another safe plastic. This is commonly used in the craft world as buttons are usually made with this. It is also used for Plastic Wrap, Grocery Bags, and certain food containers.
Things To Know:
LDPE is strong but significantly less sturdy than HDPE when in a solid form. It still takes a lot to melt it [about 194F]
LDPE is pretty safe to use. If in a solid form it takes a lot of heat to melt. Use caution while trying to burn loser LDPE products such as bags, because they do catch on fire.
TYPE 5 [PP]
PP is pretty safe, and is used for many things like bottle caps [and tic-tac caps], Storage Bins, and Plastic dishware. It does not melt easily, but it does heat up very quickly, so use caution if you ever heat up a PP plastic.
PP is quite safe, however studies have found that certain PP's may leach a biocide. So use PP with caution.
TYPE 6 [PS]
This is Styrofoam basically, and I would hope everyone knows to avoid heating Styrofoam. I'll will still list the risks.
*EDIT* Type 6 plastic has two forms. One being Styrofoam and another which mimics the other plastics, This plastic is easy to melt, but of course still carries the risks stated below, in fact there is a distinct scent to it.
Also leaches Carcinogens related to styrene and an estrogen disruptor.
Don't heat Styrofoam, ever. And if you are going to make homemade Shrink Dinks just use caution, and be in a WELL Ventilated Area.
TYPE 7 [MISC]
Anything that can't be summed up in the prior types is put here. There is both good and bad plastics.
PLA are biodegradable plastics so they are good and if you find them are safe to work with for crafting.
PC is a bad plastic but isn't really something that would pertain to crafters unless they are architects. But if you would like to know, it contains many harmful substances but does not leach easily. So it is more of an environmental concern since it is not really biodegradable.
And that is THE GUIDE TO PLASTIC SAFETY!
Hope I helped and you will all be more caution on the use of plastic and fire. For your own healths :]