You almost certainly use products every day that are made from plastic discarded by others. One of the simplest things you can do to help the environment is recycle, and more people are doing it than ever before. Do your part by recycling whenever possible and making sure to choose products that are made from or contained in recycled plastic.
From detergent and shampoo bottles to milk and juice bottles, many plastic containers are made from recycled high-density polyethylene. This plastic is accepted at most recycling centers and is easily broken down and made into new containers. Items made of this material carry the number 2 resin identification code inside the recycling symbol.
Polystyrene, the generic name for the trademark Styrofoam, is often used as a packaging material because it can be pumped full of air bubbles to make it springy or rigid. It is also used as thermal insulation in home construction and travel mugs. While many curbside recycling programs don’t accept polystyrene, some shipping stores accept packing materials for reuse and recycling.
Most fabric is made from natural materials or new plastics, but coastal and marine recycled plastic textiles are gaining popularity. This painstakingly recovered plastic can be made into a yarn that’s used in clothing, footwear, luggage, and even home interior products. Companies like BionicYarn.com create recycled plastic textiles from plastic items that could harm the marine ecosystem if not recovered.
Plastic Bags and Wraps
The plastic bags that keep bread fresh and allow you to easily carry home your groceries may have been made from recycled plastic. You can also drop these bags off for recycling at many grocery and big-box stores. Plastic bags and wraps don’t necessarily become more of the same kind of product. They could instead become plastic construction materials for benches, decks, and playground equipment, among other things.
Kitchenware and Home Surfaces
Colanders, cutting boards, bowls, food storage containers, and tableware are often made of recycled plastic. These products can be recycled when they’re old or broken. Additionally, kitchen countertops as well as laundry room and bathroom surfaces are among home features that can be made from recycled materials and later recycled again.
Carpeting, trash bags, traffic cones, and a variety of other items may also be made from recycled plastics. You can make environmentally responsible purchasing decisions by choosing items that are made with recycled materials and that can be recycled when you’re finished with them. You’ll find a growing range of options in just about every plastic product category.