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Refillable containers for eco-friendly toiletries

Karen Danenhauer karenrpcv

Refillable containers for eco-friendly toiletries

23/04/2019 at 00:36

I have an idea to create refillable containers out of recycled plastic, to fill and be refilled with toiletries like shampoo paste, sunscreen, deodorant.

This would help us deal with the plastic that has already been created, and reduce the amount of plastic needed, as well as decrease the harmful chemicals in most sunscreens that gets into the ocean and bleaches the coral reefs.

So far, I have a shredder, a design including CAD model for the container I’d like to make, an increasingly steady stream of plastic, plus a fair amount of local interest in getting something like this done (and possibly some grant money).

I’m getting hung up on the mold aspect – is there a compression machine model that can make more than 1 container every few hours?  Is there anyone making such molds currently?  Can you help with this?

Also, here in New Zealand there are already companies recycling PET and HDPE, and although I’m sure this could be improved upon, there is a need to focus on the other plastic types.  I’d like to focus on Polypropylene.  Those of you who have used polypropylene in compression molds and known how it handles…do you think this is feasible??  Will it compress well and could it be functional as a refillable container?

I appreciate your input!

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23/04/2019 at 12:10

Hi Karen,


I compression mould small pots about that size. I use mostly HDPE for compression moulding, it takes around 20 minutes and maybe another 20-30 for cooldown, but I usually don’t make them in a hurry so leave them for longer until they are completely cold. Here’s a video of my compression moulding process: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m4uGuTAm5jI


The walls of your container are very thick, I din’t think they need to be quite that thick. The lid would be better to injection mould (the pot could also be injection moulded) this process is much quicker. I prefer polypropylene to any other plastic for injection moulding, it is more fluid when hot and can fill cavities that are thinner and have fine detail such as engraved text.

23/04/2019 at 23:09

Hi Andyn,
Thanks for your response!
It seems that injection moulding may be the way to go, thanks for the suggestion.

Another question – a lot of polypropylene here is clear with some coloring for labels that are flush with the rest of the containers…do I need to worry about impurities in that coloring, or is that what adds the marbling effect on finished products?

Do you ever come across lead or cadmium added to polypropylene?  In the below article lead and cadmium are mentioned as toxins that make recycling polypropylene difficult:

24/04/2019 at 13:26

That sounds like the sort of label that is applied inside the mould and then the plastic is injected onto it, they are almost impossible to remove and could be made from a different type of plastic, but as it’s only a thin film I don’t know if it’s enough contamination to worry about


I’m not sure how accurate that article is. I doubt lead and cadmium are used as additives nowadays  (anybody know for sure?) and certainly burning polypropylene does not produce ‘vinyl chloride’ (that’s PVC).

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