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vacuum-powered plastic bottle crusher   (+6, -2)  [vote for, against]
crushes your bottles

when recycling bottles, cans, and other containers, we are asked to crush them so that the truck picking them up is carrying mostly plastic and metal and not air.

we already have aluminium can crushers, but i have yet to see a plastic bottle crusher (other than my own hands).

this device attaches to a plastic bottle at the neck and sucks the air out of it, allowing the user to then cap off the bottle. the bottle can then be placed in the bin, without taking up a significant amount of space.
-- mihali, Oct 22 2004

Take cap off bottle. Stand on bottle. Replace cap on bottle. Bottle crushed.
-- unclepete, Oct 22 2004

Our local recyclers prefer the cap and bottle to be separate - the PET of the bottle body is more valuable with less contamination by the soft plastic tops. If you are worried about space, just quarter the larger PET bottles with a pair of scissors and nest the four pieces before placing in bin.
-- ConsulFlaminicus, Oct 22 2004

I definitely like this - quick and simple, though possible a little costly for what it does (vacuum pumps are muchly more than can crushers). One question: PET bottles tend to unfold after crushing, how would you ensure they stay crushed while recapping them? Could you apply a little heat so that they stay crushed without having to put the cap back on?
-- wagster, Oct 23 2004

I take big paper bags of uncrushed aluminum cans and PET bottles to recycling machines that insist on whole containers before paying refunds.
-- FarmerJohn, Oct 23 2004

It does a little - doesn't exactly take *all* the air out though, does it?
-- wagster, Oct 23 2004

hmmm...i think my description doesn't exactly say what i wanted it to. forgive me, it was late and i had just finished my (third? fourth?) beer in a short period of time.

what i meant was that this device would be an interface between your vacuum cleaner and the bottle. hence no need for expensive pumps of any kind. i think that there would be plenty of negative pressure to keep the bottle crushed, but you would need to put the cap back on quickly to prevent the bottle from expanding/unfolding.

sorry for the misunderstanding.
-- mihali, Oct 23 2004

Ah. Not sure the hoover would have enough suck. Why not have a cheap, basic vacuum pump operated by a hand pump, with the standard bottle thread attachment at one end. Once you've collapsed the bottle though, I've no idea how to get the cap back on.
-- wagster, Oct 23 2004

Wow, mihali, tis been ages...Love the idea, and it would make our backroom about half as cluttered. Yeah!
-- blissmiss, Oct 23 2004

What [unclepete] said. Producing energy is already too expensive... why waste it in something we can do with our own hands?
-- Pericles, Oct 24 2004

How about a hand cranked bottle chopper. Drop the bottle in. Close the safety cover. Give the big crank a turn, and 20 small bits of plastic fall out the bottom into the bin.
-- scad mientist, Oct 25 2004

If the device was like a hand operated foot-pump (if you see what I mean) and the bottle was screwed in as [Wagster] says, the handle of the pump could be pulled down a little further on the final stroke to engage a crimper that would seal the bottle at the neck.

[scad mientist] Can't it be steam operated? With a huge flywheel?
-- Gordon Comstock, Oct 26 2004

Directions: Add a little water. Put bottle in microwave on high until water boils. Remove quickly and cap.
-- ldischler, Oct 26 2004

Or just leave the bottle in the microwave for ten minutes on high without water.
-- FarmerJohn, Oct 26 2004

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