Many products come in clear plastic packaging called plastic clamshells, such as berry baskets. Sometimes this packaging is “thermoformed,” meaning it is molded around the shape of a product. Sellers might like this packaging because it is inexpensive, protects the items in transport and lets them attach their branding. But customers find it annoying to open and difficult to recycle. Many people do “wishcycling,” meaning that they put this packaging in their recycling bin, hoping it will be recycled. Unfortunately, most recycling programs are not set up to recycle this packaging. It gums up the sorting machines and contributes to higher costs of recycling.
In this podcast episode, we’ll discuss ways you can creatively reuse this packaging. In the featured photo on this blog, you can see an octopus I designed for my nephew – it was a squid actually. It involved stringing plastic caps on string. I gave it to him disassembled so he could build it himself. I put all the parts in a clamshell container and made my own label. This type of packaging can be great for gifts and many other reuse opportunities.
What is Wishcycling?
Wishcycling is when people put items in their recycling bin that they are not sure are accepted by their local recycling program, but they hope it will be recycled anyway. The worst types of recycling contamination are those which fall through the recycling sorting machinery and cause it to break such as plastic bags, hoses, tarps, chains and wires. There is also a problem with small metal items like nuts, bolts and batteries. You have heard the story about throwing a wrench in the machinery, right? I have heard that batteries thrown in recycling causes fires in recycling trucks. As a general rule, most recycling facilities cannot deal with anything smaller than your fist.
Craft Ideas with Plastic Clamshell Packaging
- Ribbon and yarn storage in a berry basket
- Fish craft from and bubble wrap and clamshell packaging
- Earring shapes from recycled plastic
- Square panel bracelet from clamshell packaging
- Pirate treasure chest from plastic berry basket
- “May Day” basket from plastic berry basket
- Gift box from plastic berry basket
- Teacher gift from plastic berry basket
“Shrinky Dinks” or Baked Plastic Art