It takes approximately 450 years for a plastic bottle to break down. With millions of tonnes of plastic waste in landfills and oceans, it’s important to find other uses for existing sources. Creating a second-life for plastic waste will reduce our energy and water consumption and reduce demand for new plastics. Clothing to cars, bags to boats, here are 10 things you didn’t know plastic bottles could be recycled into:
Bags, backpacks and travel accessories – Lefrik
Access to affordable, stylish and eco-friendly travel essentials has never been easier. Lefrik design bags, backpacks and travel accessories made from 100% recycled PET bottles. In 2018, the urban brand used 650,000 plastic bottles to create 50,000 backpacks. The bottles are melted and spun into yarn used to construct lightweight, durable bags. Lefrik is dedicated to reducing the amount of new plastic produced yearly while saving tonnes of energy in the process.
Trainers – Flamingos Life
Leather, rubber and synthetics are the usual materials used to design trainers. Flamingos Life do it differently. Their vegan trainers are made from post-consumer plastic bottles. Two recycled bottles are used to create every pair of shoes. Paired with organic cotton and natural rubber, Flamingos Life trainers are an eco-friendly alternative to big brand shoes. Tackling more environmental issues, the Spanish brand plants five trees for every pair of shoes sold. The reforestation project grows new trees in areas of Madagascar and Mozambique.
Rugs, blankets and textiles – Weaver Green
Luxury textiles made from 100% recycled plastic bottles is the creation of Weaver Green. The British brand heats and backcombs PET plastic until fibres begin to emerge. The fibres are spun into yarn that resembles the soft texture of wool. The stylish rugs, bags, cushions and blankets use 70% less energy than normal production. By the end of 2019, Weaver Green recycled 100 million bottles in the brand’s lifetime. This helps to clear our landfill and oceans of discarded single-use plastics.
Phone cases – ocean75
Think about the number of phone cases that are thrown out when we upgrade our old models for new ones. Most of these cases can’t be recycled so pollute our oceans and landfill. Ocean75 use plastic gathered from oceans in Scandinavia to create phone cases with over 90% recycled content. Manufactured in the UK a stones throw from the sea, the company is dedicated to giving back to ocean charities. When you purchase a phone case, you can choose which charity your donation is distributed to.
‘Fishing’ boat – Hubbub
One of the world’s first ‘fishing’ boats made from 100% recycled PET was the creation of environmental charity, Hubbub. Made by craftsman in the UK, the plastic fishing boat travelled the River Thames to collect plastic waste polluting the river. The plastic bottles were combined with other plastic waste and turned into sheets used to form the punt. From the success of the first boat, Hubbub added more boats to their fleet helping to clean rivers across the nation.
Kitchen fronts – IKEA
Eco-friendly products from mainstream brands is gaining acceleration in the furniture market. Furniture giant, IKEA, has created a range of kitchen fronts made from recycled PET bottles. The KUNGSBACKA range is a sustainable alternative to units on the market that use new plastics. Giving discarded plastic bottles a new life, they’re turned into a film used to wrap the front made from recycled wood. If your design preferences change, the kitchen fronts can be recycled all over again.
Sofas and upholstery – Lovesac
We bet you didn’t think sofas could be made from plastic bottles too? American brand, Lovesac, created a range of sofas whose upholstery fabric is made from 100% recycled yarns. Lovesac collect plastic bottles and chop them into flakes which are melted and spun into yarn. The fine yarns mimic the softness of cotton. As well as recycled upholstery, the product’s packaging uses recycled kraft cardboard. With minimal dyes used to brand the boxes, they’re entirely reusable and recyclable.
Plant pots – ECOPOTS
Durable, stylish plant pots that rid our landfill and oceans of plastic waste is the idea of ECOPOTS. The plant pots are made from over 80% high-quality recycled plastics and come with a 10 year breakage-free guarantee. The sustainable pots come in sleek, timeless designs to discourage the consumption of trend products that last one or two years. ECOPOTS are committed to reducing the amount of raw plastic produced for short-term products.
Surfboards – Land Rover
With the mission to become zero waste, Land Rover created a range of surfboards made from recycled PET plastic. The plastic comes from clay models used to build Land Rover’s car parts which are destroyed after finished with. The Waste to Wave project ensures all the plastic is sliced into blocks to create surfboards and paddleboards. Trialled on professional surfer, Lucy Campbell, the second-life board hopes to encourage car manufacturers to find uses for their waste plastic.
Sockets for prosthetic limbs – De Montfort University
Researchers at De Montfort University have developed sockets for prosthetic limbs made out of recycled plastic bottles. The low-cost solution is 40% lighter than existing prosthetics due to its original composition designed for consumer goods. Five one-litre PET bottles are spun into a strong yarn used to form the breathable socket. Two sockets were created for amputees in India and have proved successful in providing a comfortable, lightweight prosthetic. The team is trialling the sockets on a larger scale, hoping for the introduction of PET prosthetics in the mainstream.
We must recycle our plastic correctly to ensure it can continue its product lifecycle. Brands across the world are creating eco-friendly, sustainable alternatives that reduce the amount of plastic waste on our planet. Find out how to recycle the seven types of plastic here.