The bins you walk past on the street are mostly general waste meaning anything you throw in them will go to landfill or incineration. Next time you buy a drink or finish eating your meal deal, stop to think about where you’re about to throw your rubbish. Placing your PET plastic and other recyclable packaging into a recycling bin allows new products to be created from the material. Your carpet, clothing, packaging and cars can all be made from recycled PET plastic.
Large amounts of energy are required to create new plastic every time a product is made. Using recycled PET plastic is a great way to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. To put this into perspective, recycling a single plastic bottle can save enough energy to power a lightbulb for over three hours.
Here are some of the everyday items your recycled plastic bottles have helped to create:
This is the most common use of recycled PET plastic. When your plastic bottles are recycled, they can be turned into other plastic packaging including bottles, food and drink cartons. Packaging that your non-food and beverage products come in can all be created using recycled PET plastic too.
Clothing and shoes
Once collected and sorted, PET plastic bottles can be turned into flakes, melted down and spun into yarn. Polyester, lycra and nylon fibres spun from PET plastic can be used to create clothing and shoes. Plastic fibres are mostly used for activewear and outerwear due to the durability and stretch that they require.
Carpets and soft furnishings
In a similar process to creating clothing and shoes, PET plastic can make carpets. The recycled bottles are spun into a fine yarn which is sewn into polyester, nylon or polypropylene carpets. The plastic fibres are more stain-resistant than wool which helps your carpet last much longer. Cushions, throws and upholstering can also be achieved using recycled PET plastics.
Brands are increasingly using recycled PET plastics to create furniture. Chairs, kitchen cupboards, tables and outdoor sofas are made by melting down PET flakes and moulding them into the desired shapes. For example, IKEA has a line of kitchen cupboards made from wood that is covered in a recycled PET plastic coating. The strength and durability of the plastic makes it ideal for high-volume usage and protected against weathering.
Sleeping bags and duvets
The density of the fibres made from recycled PET plastic creates great properties for insulation. This is used to stuff duvets, sleeping bags, pillows and padded coats. Its long-lasting and hypoallergenic composition makes the insulation ideal for home usage too. The insulation can be used to insulate your walls and lofts.
Most car parts are made from plastic: the dashboard, front panel, seat belt, upholstery and foam insulation. All these components can be created using recycled PET plastic. With thousands of cars manufactured daily, using recycled materials can reduce the amount of plastic deposited in landfill and incineration.
Pro Environmental are the UK’s leading PET specialists. Learn more about the advantages of using rPET here.