New companies and innovative technologies make it easier than ever to participate in sustainability efforts. Recycled materials are being used to create the products we use in everyday life. Recycled water bottles, in particular, are used to create new shoes, sportswear, and home furnishing.
One of the most significant innovations is in the shoe and sportswear industries. One company, Patagonia, has been turning recycled soft drink bottles into a sustainable cashmere as well as using recycled polyester in their outdoor clothing lines since 1993, including t-shirts and weather gear.
Another company, Girlfriend Collective, uses 25 recycled water bottles per pair of leggings in their Athleisure ware. Everlane plans to discontinue its use of virgin plastic and redevelop its yarns, fabrics and raw materials with recycled materials for their line of jackets and sweaters made with recycled plastic bottles.
Hats off to shoes! Parley Shoes and Apparel recover plastic bottles before they reach the ocean and has partnered with Adidas shoes and apparel. About 11 plastic bottles are used for each sneaker, and Adidas plans to use recycled plastics in all of its shoes. Nike is also on the sustainability wagon and used over 3 billion plastic bottles. The yarn made from recycled plastic bottles were used to make kits for both the men and women National USA Soccer teams.
Green Toys recycles milk jugs to create children's toys from trucks and bath toys to beach toys and infant items. Buffy uses 750 thousand plastic bottles to fill its comforter with a down alternative that also contains cooling eucalyptus fibers. Using eucalyptus rather than cotton saves 15 million gallons of water. Pilot Pens uses one plastic bottle to create 2 to 3 pens. Over 80% of their pens are made of recycled bottles. Freeride is a skateboard company with many decks made from 100% recycled plastic as well as recycled cardboard for packaging.
Even though these innovative companies represent leaders in sustainability, nearly 2 tons of recyclables end up in landfills across the country. Recyclables represent over 23% of all landfill waste. Still, recycled materials have a commodity value of $76 million.
Sorting recyclables is the most expensive part of the recycling process, and much of it can be done by the companies. For sustainability success, your business, company, or organization should aim to collect and recycle these raw material streams in their sustainability efforts. Containers that are clearly marked will make it easier for everyone to participate. Personalized recycling bins and containers with business logos let all know that a company is part of the sustainability effort.