Lets face it, you can consider scale modelling a resource and
environment unfriendly hobby when you consider the amount of packaging,
petroleum and chemicals used by us. Although impossible to eliminate all
packaging and harmful products, you can reduce the amount or packaging and
chemicals you use when modelling.
Reduce Chemical Use
When stripping chrome there are two products I've used. Easy-Off oven cleaner
and Castrol Super Clean. I stopped using Easy-Off since I was flushing the
chemical residue down the drain. I switched to Castrol Super Clean since I have
a glass jar I just dunk the parts into and remove when stripped. The same
solution can be use over and over again before it has to be disposed.
Use Acrylics Paints When Possible
Why? Because acrylic paints can be thinned with rubbing alcohol (Tamiya) or
distilled water (Polly Scale) depending the brand of paint. Cleaning up
paint is also easier since you can use soapy water or rubbing alcohol between
When you use enamel or lacquer based paints you have to use you will avoid
having to use chemicals like mineral spirits and lacquer thinner to thin,
airbrush and clean paint. This stuff is not only nasty to dump down a drain, its
not that good for your lungs either.
Do You Need A Bag?
Next time you visit a shop to buy your latest model, do you really need them to
put it in a bag? Better yet, big you own bag that you can re-use. My local hobby
shop (Keith's Hobby)
re-uses plastic bags donated by their customers.
Buy in Bulk
When buying common items like paint thinners, sandpaper, paint, etc. buy larger
quantities rather than just what is need at the moment. Not only is it cheaper,
you'll have less packaging to recycle to throw in the garbage. For example, why
buy 23ml of Tamiya Acrylic thinner for $4 when you can get 250ml for $11?
I go through a lot of #11 knife blades. In a lot of cases you can reuse the
blades by simply sharpening them with a honing stone.
More and more communities are introducing recycling programs.
Once you build you model, be sure to put you kit box on the recycling bin. Or,
use them for storing other items like partially completed kits.
Plastic models are made from Polystyrene. Even if recycle is available in you
community, you might not be able to recycle the left over sprues. Here are the
recycle codes (for Canada) for plastics:
- #1- PETE (mainly soda bottles)
- #2- HDPE (Gallon milk jugs, can be frosted or colors)
- #3- PVC (Some bottles, best known in plastic pipe)
- #4- LDPE (Plastic Bags, squeeze bottles)
- #5- PolyPropylene (Butter/magerine tubs)
- #6- Polystyrene (Cups, take-out containers, model kit sprues)
- #7- Other (Found this on a ketchup squeeze bottle)
In Toronto, only plastics #1 and #2 are recycled, so I can't recycle my kit
sprues. Other cities like Halifax have a much more complete recycling program.
So, check to see what plastics can be recycled in your community.