The Recycling Process in Action: 10 Items Your Recycled Disposable Bottles Can Become


We talk a lot on this blog about alternatives to drinking from disposable plastic water bottles. Whether those are your standard reusable water bottle, smart bottles that tell you when to refill, or even edible water sacs, there are so many ways to be better to the environment and yourself. (After all, as we’re sure you recall, plastics that are used to make disposable bottles and other food items can sometimes contain chemicals like phthalates or BPAs).

That said, not everyone will make the switch for a multitude of reasons. Perhaps your family, especially your children, are so used to drinking from disposable plastic water bottles that it’s hard to convince them to do otherwise. Maybe you’ve started bringing a reusable bottle with you to work or when out and about, but you still buy disposable bottles, too. You know, just in case you forget your reusable one at home.

No matter which option suits you best, if you have recycled disposable plastic water bottles recently, then you can feel good about what they become. While not all plastic is recycled, what is can be reused and remade into some pretty awesome things.

Don’t believe us? Just check out this list of 10 items that your recycled plastic may be repurposed into.

1. Brooms and Rakes

Go into your shed and take a look at what’s in there. We’re sure you have a broom, maybe even a rake for the autumn leaves. If your brooms or rakes are made of plastic, have you ever taken a moment to think where they come from?

The answer is your disposable water bottle caps. In many instances, these caps are made of polypropylene. This is a tough plastic and is not the same type of plastic as your disposable bottles. Those are polyethylene terephthalate, which is known as PET plastic.

We do want to caution you that you can’t always recycle bottle caps. You might remember that from reading this blog. Not all recycling centers accept them. The ones that do can take the caps and start them on their journey into being remade into helpful household objects.

Speaking of helpful household objects, your plastic ice scraper—which really comes in handy this time of the year—might also be made of a recycled plastic water bottle cap.

2. Toothbrushes

It’s not exactly common for your recycled plastics to be made into toothbrushes, but a B corporation called Preserve has changed that. They accept plastics in the #5 family, which are polypropylene plastics. Not every recycling center will take #5 plastics, but Preserve does.

They have a Gimme 5 recycling program in place that repurposes, as the name suggests, these #5 plastics. Retail centers across the country have become home to Preserve’s Gimme 5 drop-off bins, with over 250 in existence as of this writing.

If you don’t have any of your own plastic bottles to recycle, you can always do your part by buying Preserve products, which are made from recycled #5 plastics. As we mentioned, toothbrushes are one such product you can pick up. Preserve also sells Kiss My Face toothpaste, travel cases, tongue cleaners, and flavored toothpicks that are all eco-friendly.

Outside of oral care, you can also buy travel items, tools, kitchen items, and food storage solutions from Preserve. Being good to the earth has never been so easy.

3. Car Batteries

You know that when yours die, you can recycle your car batteries, but do you know your batteries themselves may be made with recycled materials? It’s true! This is another area in which recycled plastic bottle caps come in handy.

The sturdy polypropylene plastic makes for the perfect housing for your batteries. The next time your vehicle’s batteries are due for a replacement, take the extra time to look at them. You’ll certainly notice some recycled plastic components!

4. Pens

If you’ve ever gnawed on a pen cap while taking an important exam or doing a crucial work task, then surely you know these are made of plastic. If you buy your pens from Pilot, then you can be certain that plastic is recycled. Their B2P or Bottle 2 Pen products come in every ink color you could dream of.

You get to customize your writing experience with Pilot. Their ballpoint pen has ink colors like green, purple, red, blue, or black to choose from. You can select from a medium or fine point pen and you can even nab refills on Pilot’s site if you run out of ink. According to Pilot, the pen is made with primarily “total recycled content,” of which the writing instrument constitutes 86 percent.

The gel roller pens have even more hues to choose from, as you have a whole rainbow of colors at your disposal. These include hunter green, caramel (a golden color), periwinkle, teal, orange, burgundy, turquoise, navy blue, lime green, pink, purple, and black. You can also select from extra-fine, bold, ultra-fine, or fine point types.

5. Clothing

There’s practically no limit to how recycled plastic disposable bottles can be transformed into clothing. We’re talking everything from fleece jackets to sweaters, t-shirts, and almost every garment in between.

The North Face, a major retailer, uses recycled plastic in their fleece coats. If you shop their Denali jacket or Glacier ¼ Zip fleece jacket, then you’re wearing the brand’s recycled plastic.

Aday is another brand that is known for taking recycled plastic and incorporating it into their stylish duds. According to news site RealClearLife, when Aday sells one of its jackets with recycled materials, it uses up to 41 disposable plastic water bottles. That’s a lot of bottles that don’t go in landfills!

6. Soccer Uniforms

Back in 2016, Nike made a momentous contribution to the environment when they created and debuted recyclable soccer uniforms for the United States Women’s and Men’s National Teams. This was just in time for the Rio match at the Copa America Centenario during the last Olympic games.  

Both teams wore black and white uniforms for the home games that included AeroSwift technology, an advancement by Nike “that enables on-pitch focus by reducing distractions.” With mesh and knit around the V-neck collar and colorful trim, this is one sporty uniform.

The uniforms were a combination of yarn sourced from recycled plastic as well as polyester. Through its environmental efforts, Nike has prevented a ton of bottles from sitting in a landfill, up to three billion of them.

7. Carpeting

Is your carpet made of recycled materials? If you buy EverStrand, then the answer is a resounding yes.

EverStrand is a fibrous carpet that is sourced primarily from PET polyester plastics. According to Mohawk, the company that manufactures and sells EverStrand carpeting, there’s a purification that all carpeting strands go through to ensure they have premium stain and soil protection.

Not only is EverStrand carpeting environmentally friendly then, but when you purchase it through Mohawk, you also get Mohawk Continuum protection. That means your PET carpeting will go through yet another specialized process.

Mohawk uses high-grade polymers and PET plastics to create a stronger carpet fiber. Through their purification, they clear the fibers of any residue that might accumulate a buildup of dirt. The carpeting also includes Scotchgard Protector Advanced Repel Technology to safeguard your carpet from soil messes and other stains. With less dinginess and almost no residue from grime, dirt, and stains, you’ll have a beautiful carpet that helps the environment, too.

Does it get any better than that? We don’t think so.

8. Travel Bags

If you’re always on the go jet-setting from one place to another, it’s easy to generate a significant carbon footprint. Whether you drive, move by train, or fly on a plane, you can reduce the environmental impact you make with an eco-friendly recycled travel bag.

Not sure where to get such a bag? Hamilton Perkins is one such brand that is transforming disposable plastic water bottles into something amazing. The bags, in addition to being made from recycled materials, also consist of billboard vinyl and pineapple leaf fiber. When Hamilton Perkins combines those three materials, they get their patented Earth Bags.

The company was founded in 2014 by its namesake, Hamilton Perkins. These bags are not only better for the environment, but they’re attractive, too. It’s no wonder they’ve garnered attention from The Washington Post, Money Magazine, Fast Company, Forbes, and more.  

9. Sleeping Bag and Jacket Insulation

What keeps you warm at night? If you wear a fleece jacket or slumber in a sleeping bag, the answer is insulated material. This material may look like some sort of cotton, but it often comes from your recycled disposable plastic water bottles.

One such company that makes this insulation is Thermolite. Their T3 EcoMade insulation primarily consists of recycled plastic bottles. Thermolite’s insulation has superior recovery and compression as well as weighing less and being exceptionally good at keeping its users warm.

Other features of the T3 EcoMade insulation are a softer feel, longer-lasting garments due to the washing durability, water resistance for use even in wet conditions, insulation retention, and breathability.

10. Flats

You might be walking more to lessen your carbon footprint, so why not take a stroll in some eco-friendly shoes? Rothy’s is a brand that makes women’s flats. Whether you prefer the pointed toe or the round one, Rothy’s has ‘em all.

Of course, for them to be on this list, you know these flats are made from recycled plastics and other sustainable materials. The result is a stunning and comfortable shoe. A Rothy’s flat has an outsole that bends as your foot does, traveling with you. The cushioned insole can be taken out and washed if it’s dirty or starts getting a little stinky.

The knitted quality of the shoes is seamless for your comfort. Not only that, but you can toss them in the washing machine. With their quick-dry technology, your flats will be ready to wear that same day. The sole is rubber, but it’s free of carbon and otherwise better for the environment. Finally, the shoes are incredibly lightweight. Rothy’s says an average pair of flats weighs a mere 9.3 ounces!

How do the recycled plastics figure in? Rothy’s uses its own 3D knitting that makes use of plastic yarn. Said yarn is made from PET plastics.

Conclusion

Whether it’s household items you already use or everyday garments you never knew could be repurposed, your disposable plastic water bottles are there everywhere you turn. By ensuring yours are recycled, you can contribute to these innovative brands that are keeping bottles out of landfills and making plastics more interesting to use and wear than ever before.

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