5 Things Made from Recycled Plastic Bottles
Sep 19 2019 Read 2024 Times
Each year, a whopping 13 billion plastic bottles are used in Britain every single year. That equates to 35.6 million per day, 1.48 million per hour, 24,733 per minute or 412 per second. That’s a lot of bottles! While recycling percentages are improving, there is still a long way to go before the UK is close to competing with the 97% of plastic bottles recycled in Norway, as many still end up in landfill.
However, some scientists and entrepreneurs have been hard at work finding new purposes for recycled plastic bottles. Indeed, accelerated innovation in virtually all fields of research mean that there are now some truly remarkable uses of plastic bottles after they have been discarded, including the five ingenious functions listed below.
Using a sophisticated method of processing known as “flaking”, it’s possible to break plastic down into tiny parts and melt them into a particular kind of yarn. Similar to polyester yarn, this substance can then be threaded and woven into clothing for all kinds of attire, including sportswear. In fact, the female English football team wear a kit made from recycled bottles for all their matches! What’s more, the process is far more sustainable than traditional methods of clothing manufacture, using half the energy and releasing half the carbon.
Sweden may have taken the flat-pack furniture world by storm with Ikea, but Mexico are now looking to close in on the eco-friendly offshoot of the industry through architecture firm Paola Calzada Arquitectos. Using only recycled plastic bottles and a wood-fibre substance known as valchromat, the company make side tables and children’s furniture that is capable of assembly without the use of nails or glue.
Perhaps the most impressive item on this list, scientists at De Montfort University in Leicester have developed a way to convert recycled plastic bottles into prosthetic limbs for those who were either born without arms or legs or have lost them in accidents. So far, prototype limbs have been created for patients in India, but the pioneering team behind the innovation are looking to produce them a mass scale that remains fully customisable. Best of all, this new technique could reduce the cost of a prosthetic socket from £5,000 to a mere £10! Incredible.
American company Green Toys follows an ambitious business model of using 100% recycled materials at every stage of the process, from design to production to packaging. Used milk bottles are the primary ingredient in their range of toys, but they also incorporate yoghurt pots and other single-use items to minimise waste and maximise their recycling ability. Even the ink used to label their products is made from sustainable soybeans!
Some of the biggest sports brands in the world, including both Adidas and Nike, are waking up their environmental obligations and helping to do their bit to recycle and reuse as much as possible. Both companies have released a range of trainers which incorporate plastic in recent years, with Adidas products using around 11 bottles and Nike using six. With these behemoths of the industry setting a responsible example for others to follow, the future looks bright for environmental footwear.
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