Experiment #4 – Microplastics

Despite being flat out the last two weeks with the Clean-up Lake Burley Griffin Day, I did managed to get one new experiment done around microplastics or Plastic Experiment #4.

In reality, the project didn’t start out this way. Instead, I went to a friend’s house to try to use a mitresaw to see if I could I smooth out the edges of the lumpy larger pieces. However, it turned out that he didn’t have the right tool, and so I proceeded to just use his hand saw.

What resulted from this process was purple plastic dust everywhere – essentially microplastics, which can end up in the water streams if I wasn’t careful. So, as I was sweeping up everything, it suddenly occurred to me that I could melt this dust down again and so I did.

This time, I used silicon moulds that just arrived from the US. The dust fit in there easily, but I quickly realised that there were other things in that mix too like saw dust from wood shavings and various leaves and twigs. I expected that my melting process would burn them, and I wasn’t wrong. The fumes were horrible!

After that lesson, I finally created some space on my balcony to attempt it again outside, and despite the extra particles in the plastic it worked really well. The small shapes held their form even while shrinking per usual, and I could easily get them out of the mould.

There were still quite a few bubbles in the final letters as I didn’t want to risk melting the silicon mould by accident again, but I think it actually gives the shapes some character.

So, overall I was happy with the results of this experiment with microplastics, and I feel really close to creating something that I wouldn’t mind sharing soon with friends.

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Tammy Ven Dange

IT Consultant for the Not for Profit Sector | Host of "Executive with a Cause" Podcast

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