Plastic is a necessary material in many applications, even though a lot of the time, it doesn't get recycled. However, if you need to use HDPE sheets, you have a chance to use plastic that's part of a very solid recycling and reuse cycle. If you want to be as environmentally friendly as possible when using plastic, look at HDPE sheets.
Buy Recycled HDPE Sheets Only
You can get new HDPE sheets that are made from materials that have never been used before, or you could get sheets made from recycled plastic. If you can find HDPE sheets that are made of completely recycled materials, you're contributing to the use and reuse cycle that helps keep materials out of the landfill and in productive use. There's no need to take new resources to form the sheets you need when recycled ones are so readily available.
Don't Attempt to Paint Them or Use Glue on Them
Paint and glue aren't going to stick to HDPE sheets, so to use them in hopes of getting something to stay put is futile and just wastes paint and glue. Those get thrown in the trash when dry, so they're not really helping in the eco-friendly department. And if you're thinking that you weren't planning to put glue or paint on the sheets anyway, you still need to be careful if the sheet will be next to a painted area because any drips that get onto the sheet will just end up as waste.
Recycle the Scraps and the Sheets When You No Longer Need Them
When you're done with the HDPE sheets, you can once again recycle them. This includes clean sheets that you no longer need as well as scraps left from cutting up other sheets. Contact your city's recycling department or call the HDPE supplier that you got the sheets from to find out where to take the HDPE. While this type of plastic is the basis for many bottles and other everyday items, you typically can't dump HDPE sheets in your recycling bin. You need to find somewhere that will take the sheets and scraps. By recycling these materials again, you send this plastic right back into the recycling stream where it can be made into several items, including recycled HDPE sheets that will be sold to another person.
Plastic is not usually associated with being environmentally friendly, but in the case of HDPE sheets, you can actually keep recycling again and again, and buying recycled HDPE when you need new sheets. That's about as environmentally friendly as you can get.
Contact a company like Sandhill Plastics to learn more about HDPE sheets.