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5 Surprising Ways Plastic is Reused and Recycled

You have probably heard a thing or two about our increasing plastic problem. After all, almost every business in the US has a recycling bin right alongside their trash cans. But do you know just how bad it’s actually become? 

We aren’t going to give you a lecture with every detail of Earth’s welts and bruises, at least not today, (side note — check this out if you do in fact desire to learn more). 

Today we want to shed light on the awesome ways people have taken it upon themselves to reuse and recycle plastic, sparing our planet and it’s oceans a little bit along the way. 

With 50 million plastic bottles being thrown away each day, and a great deal of that trash carelessly being tossed into the ocean, it’s predicted that there will be more plastic than fish in the sea by 2050 (…WTF). 

On the Positive Side 

Let’s take a look at these five surprising ways that people have found to take that plastic and turn it into a piece of swag or another thing that’s useful. Heck, maybe it will inspire you to take a stab at your own creative use for the stuff.

1. Clothing

There are a handful of clothing companies that have chosen to use recycled plastic for some or all of their products. You can find even more that use a wide array of sustainable materials, but today let’s focus on plastic that’s been reused:

  • Girlfriend Collective. An ‘athleisure’ company that makes leggings known for their comfort and affordable pricing. Each pair of the original design is made from 25 recycled water bottles. They’re doing a bang up job continuing to expand their lines using sustainable materials. Get your fitness on and help your environment at the same time.
  • Patagonia. YES, this well known outdoor clothing co. has been making recycled polyester from plastic soda bottles since 1993. They take the material and turn it into fleece, t-shirts and other winter weather gear.
  • ADAY. This place makes a versatile clothing article called the ‘Waste Nothing Jacket’ that is made from 41 recycled water bottles. Because it is so light and airy, people think of it as both a shirt and a jacket. 
  • swaggr. OH HAY! (That’s us BTdubs) In case you’re just discovering us now… swaggr makes comfy athletic socks from plastic bottles that are soft, stretchy, and moisture resistant. Check out our latest crew socks if you’re into hiking. 

2. Shoes

Shoe companies are also jumping on the recycled plastic bandwagon, and you may be surprised to see some familiar brands included in the mix.

  • Adidas & Parley. Adidas joined forces with Parley shoes and apparel to create Adidas Ultra Boost Parley shoes made from sustainable, recycled materials. Every shoe is composed of about 11 plastic bottles that have been grabbed before they had the chance to pollute the ocean. 
  • Nike. Yea they did it too. Check out Nike’s lightweight Flyknit shoes equipped with a knit upper. According to the company, each pair is made from about 6 recycled plastic bottles. 
  • Rothy’s. This brand makes a knit material with post-consumer plastic that they turn into lightweight flats. The foam in the insoles is made from other recycled shoes, and the shoes can even be put in your clothes washing machine
  • Allbirds. Known for their comfy and lightweight sneakers and loungers, this company makes it’s laces out of 100% post-consumer recycled plastic bottles.

 3.Tote Bags 

ANDI bags are constructed to function as everyday tote bags but can be worn in multiple ways. This company’s versatile Grey Denim bag is made out of recycled water bottles.

4. Skateboards 

Bureo is a company specifically focused on finding ways to get rid of the plastic in our oceans. They founded Net Positiva which is a program that creates environmentally friendly disposal options for fisherman in Chile. This movement helps to avoid harmful fishing nets being abandoned at sea. The old nets were rounded up by Bureo and turned into skateboards! Duuuude. So cool.

5. Carpeting

Net-works Carpets is the lovechild of a carpet-tile designer and manufacturer called Interface and the Zoological Society of London. They came together in 2012, also with the goal to find a solution for all of the discarded fishing nets harming ocean-life. The result was Net-Works, where coastal communities in the Philippines and Cameroon collect the nets and then sell them to a global supply chain that turns them into yarn. They are then passed onto Interface who makes them into carpet-tile!

You Can Help The Plastic Waste Movement

We love that so many companies are making an effort to eliminate plastic waste. The more that people like you choose to support sustainable businesses, the more others will see the value in following suit. Want more info? Check out our website!!

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