How to Recycle Silicone

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How to Recycle Silicone

Heat resistant, durable, stable, and relatively inexpensive, silicone has many uses around the home as well as in medical, commercial, and industrial situations. Recycling silicone is a great way to save money, reuse products in the home, and contribute to caring for the environment, and it requires just a few easy steps and some basic equipment. Grinding old silicone down, preparing a mold, and mixing shredded silicone with fresh silicone is an easy way to create a wide range of rubber-based products. Various types of silicone and the equipment required to recycle it are available for sale at retail stores and online at eBay.

Uses for Recycled Silicone

Silicone is a type of rubber offering some very useful properties that make it ideal for use in a wide range of industries. It offers thermal stability across extremes of temperatures, from around minus 148 F to about 482 F. It repels water and creates watertight seals, it has anti-microbial properties, it is hardwearing, resistant to environmental effects such as oxygen and UV light, and its low thermal conductivity makes it ideal for use in fire and heat protection. The high tear strength, electrical conductivity, and flame-retardant properties of silicone make it a safe product for use in the home, office, and factory. Popular uses for silicone rubber products in the home include baking and food storage, household electronic products, personal care products, clothing and footwear, arts and crafts, mold making, children's toys, building and hardware, and lubricants.

Recycled silicone is available in a wide range of colors and is able to be color matched as required. It is not only available as a rubber, but also comes in the form of silicone caulk,silicone resin, silicone gel,silicone grease, and silicone oil.

Steps to Recycling Silicone

One can recycle silicone at home with a few basic pieces of equipment and some simple techniques. Many people like to recycle silicone rubber they have available around the house instead of throwing it in the trash. Recycling silicone involves grinding it down, preparing a mold, and then mixing the shredded silicone granules with fresh silicone.

Grind Down Old Silicone for Recycling

To recycle silicone, grind down the old silicone into small, shredded pieces. One achieves this with either some craft scissors or a blade. If a large amount of silicon is being recycled, a kitchen grinder is an ideal option. Silicone is available in a range of strengths, or hardness levels, described as a Shore A or IRHD from one to 10. The higher the number, the harder the silicone when set. Hard silicone rubbers, such as those with a Shore A 50 to 55 grade, and soft flexible silicone rubbers with a lower grade, such as Shore 20 to 25, easily grind down into small shredded granules using a manual metal kitchen grinder. For even finer silicone granules, run the silicone through the grinder a second time.

Prepare the Mold for the Recycled Silicone

The majority of people recycle silicone to make flexible, easy to use molds for a wide range of purposes, from cooking and cake decorating to construction molds and casting molds. The type of mold shape depends on what one wishes to make. Either create a mold from scratch or use an object of the desired shape. For example, a few blocks of Lego positioned as desired is one way to make a mold in a wide range of shapes and sizes.

Mix Recycled Silicone with Fresh Silicone

Once the silicone is ground sufficiently and the mold is ready, it is time to mix the recycled silicone with some fresh silicone. Fresh silicone is readily available in powder form as well as liquid form. Silicone molding kits are the ideal option for those new to silicone recycling. It usually takes some trial and error when determining the amount of recycled silicone shavings to add to the fresh silicone mix. Using too much recycled silicone results in a product with less strength.

Because fresh, or uncured, silicone exists as a liquid or gel, it requires curing to convert it to a solid state. Catalyzing, vulcanizing, or injection molding recycled silicone are the various ways of converting it to a solid state.

How to Buy Recycled Silicone

To find the necessary equipment and products to recycle your own silicone at home, search eBay for what you need. Simply type "silicone molding kit" into the search bar on any eBay page. Use the search category options to find the item you desire. Many people choose to recycle silicone at home to make their own products. By grinding down silicone, creating a mold, and mixing the grinds with fresh silicone, you easily create all sorts of recycles silicone products. Using eBay to purchase recycled silicone is an easy and cost effective way to shop from home, especially when taking advantage of eBay's useful buyer tools.

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