Reclaim Plastic Queen Cups

The Idea

grafting queen cups

Plastic queen cups after the reclaiming process.

Want to reclaim and reuse those plastic queen cups? It’s easy. Just use melted beeswax as a cleaning solvent.

The Details

You’ll need:

  • clean, pesticide free beeswax
  • a pot to melt the beeswax in
  • a strainer that fits freely inside the pot
  • a clean working surface

The beeswax must be as uncontaminated as possible. And that includes any beekeeping miticides, like fulvalinate, and especially camophous.

The pot must be large enough to allow free movement of the strainer, and tall enough to handle the increased volume of wax plus cups. A good/stout handle on the strainer prevents burns and eases the work.

Melting Beeswax

Heat the beeswax using all the normal beeswax melting precautions.

  • no open flames
  • no flammable surfaces
  • away from kids and pets
  • and have an appropriate fire extinguisher nearby

Use a hotter beeswax melt than would be used for dipping or candle making.

How It’s Done

  • place a few handful sof cups inside the strainer
  • immerse them in the hot melted beeswax
  • let the cups warm up
  • then swirl them around in the wax

The hot beeswax acts as an effective solvent. And swirling/agitating the cups loosens most of the foreign debris which settle to the bottom of the pan.

When sufficiently agitated:

  • remove the strainer from the pan
  • vigorously shake/rotate/ swirl them in the strainer above the wax pan to remove any excess wax until all dripping stops
  • dump the cups out on a clean surface to cool

The cups should be transparent and shine without any drips.

After cooling, the cups become translucent with a dull/mat finish. And without any visible beeswax.

A few cups sometimes retain a cocoon, foreign debris, or have excessive beeswax inside them. Just set them aside and process them with the next batch.

It’s fast and easy. Using conventional kitchen sized pot and strainer, a thousand cups can be reclaimed in about 15 minutes.

I’ve reclaimed tens of thousands of plastic queen cups using this method.

Reusing the Beeswax

If the same beeswax is reused, propolis and pollen eventually darken the wax. Darken beeswax is OK.

Most of the solid debris settles to the bottom of the pan and stays there. But eventually the beeswax must be strained. Just use a hot grease filter. Restaurants use them to strain fryer oil. Commercial kitchen suppliers sell them.

Suitability

I reclaim JZ BZ plastic queen cups. They can take the heat when immersed in melted beeswax. Other brands might use a less heat tolerant plastic. It’s probably a good idea to run a small test when reclaiming other brands.

-bwguy