According to National Geographic, 91 percent of the world’s plastic isn’t recycled. Given that plastic takes hundreds of years to break down, virtually all the plastic that’s ever been produced is still on Earth. Think of every milk jug, every plastic bottle, every plastic bag, all of the plastic utensils and toys … the numbers are astounding. As much as 79 percent of this plastic ends up in landfills, with much of it also being littered along the way and ending up in oceans.
As we become more aware of our impact on the environment, more and more of us are starting to make mindful choices about reducing our waste. But what about the waste that already exists? Even if we recycle things properly, we can’t do much with the majority of plastics, aside from bundling them and then leaving them in a processing plant or putting them through incineration.
However, companies are starting to find different ways to turn trash into treasure by using recycled plastics and other recycled materials to produce their goods. Not only are these companies able to conserve resources, but they also make use of garbage and recycled materials that otherwise wouldn’t have a purpose! Win-win!
Below, we’ve highlighted nine of the best items on the market that are made with recycled materials, along with some of the companies that produce them in various forms.
Method uses plastic recovered from the ocean, as well as post-consumer recycled plastic, to produce their Ocean Plastic 2-in-1 Dish + Hand soap.
Their desired impact, as a small company, is to raise awareness about the impact that plastics are having on our oceans. They work with local volunteers and cleanup crews to collect plastics on the beaches of Hawaii, and work with another company to create their recycled plastic soap bottles.
While they don’t claim that this is the solution to our massive plastic problem, theirs is an effective way to reuse materials and avoid the production of more plastic. As an added bonus, their soap is biodegradable, meaning that it can break down over time while leaving no trace on the environment.
FabHabitat sells eco-friendly home products, including some products made from 100 percent recycled plastics. In particular, their rugs are mainly made from a variety of different recycled materials, including plastic. They also offer storage poufs made from recycled polypropylene.
Finding new and innovative ways to reuse what would otherwise be trash is a beautiful thing. Plus, by investing in footwear from these companies, you can indulge in your love for shoes while feeling good about saving the planet!
Suga produces Yoga mats made from recycled wetsuits. Neoprene wetsuits can’t otherwise be recycled, and they aren’t biodegradable. This is an incredibly creative way to make use of a material that’s difficult to repurpose!
Toys and Games
Jenga now produces a special edition of the popular game, called Jenga Ocean. Jenga Ocean sets are exclusively made of recycled fishing nets, which account for 10 percent of the plastic polluting our oceans.
This game features intricate designs of ocean creatures that are threatened species, and all the packaging is also recycled or recyclable. With this edition, the company not only highlights the impact that plastic pollution has on the environment, but the role that fishing companies play in that, too.
Green Toys is another brand that makes a diverse set of children’s toys entirely from recycled plastic. This line includes beach and bath toys, dough activity sets, cars and trucks, a playhouse and more. Even the packaging is biodegradable and printed with soy ink.
There are multiple clothing brands that are beginning to use recycled materials or have been founded on the idea of using recycled materials.
Patagonia has been using recycled plastic bottles to make some of its clothing since 1993, and now includes recycled fabrics and manufacturing waste within its products as well. Brands like Girlfriend Collective are new companies that started out using recycled materials, as opposed to incorporating them into their original manufacturing process or product line.
Clothing companies are discovering more and more exciting and innovative ways to use recycled plastic within their designs—particularly, to make polyester fiber.
Polywood produces plastic patio furniture that’s made exclusively from recycled plastics. This company gets its name from the wood-grain appearance of its plastic furniture. Its products range from those with fun pops of color to elegant neutrals—and everything in between!
Cleaning is easy, with just water and perhaps a bit of soap. No staining or refinishing is needed, and there’ll be no worries about splinters!
Get a classic Muskoka chair, a cozy rocking chair or a dining set that you can feel extra-good about from this corporation. They guarantee durability in all kinds of weather, and back all their outdoor furniture with a 20-year warranty.
There’s an endless supply of garbage, yet it’s hardly ever repurposed, despite being such a plentiful resource. Pentatonic is one European furniture company that’s aiming to utilize it, though, with cutting-edge innovation and technology. They produce all of their products entirely out of trash and recycled waste, but their line is so modern and stylish that you’d never think it was made from garbage!
Brands like Dakine produce backpacks, totes, duffels and other types of bags by using recycled plastic from the ocean that’s been turned into polyester fiber. Similarly, Matt and Nat use recycled plastic bottles to create the linings of their vegan leather bags.
Every Bit of Effort Helps!
Recycling plastic and garbage by repurposing it into other usable goods is a practice that offers numerous benefits. It prevents garbage from ending up in a landfill or the ocean, or being incinerated. It eliminates the need for producing or harvesting a great deal of virgin materials; thus, we can get by with using less energy and fewer resources. The carbon footprint for products made of recycled materials is much smaller than the footprint of those made with virgin materials!
Whether you repurpose, reuse, reduce, recycle or upcycle, every effort made to protect our environment and our natural resources can have a positive impact on our planet. I can’t overstate the importance of demonstrating a need within the market by purchasing items that are better for the environment. If we do this, companies will know where our financial support lies, and will be more likely to produce products that align with their customers’ eco-friendly values.
For more information on environmentally friendly products, check out A Guide To Eco-Friendly Bathroom Products And Practices»
image 2: Revolution_Ferg