7 Weird Uses for Recycled Plastics From Superhighways To Swimsuits

Written by Small Business Magazine on February 28, 2017. Posted in Custom plastic molding, Pill containers, Plastic syringe

Plastic closure manufacturers

There’s a reason so many products are delivered in plastic PET and HDPE containers. These plastic resins create a strong barrier that prevents food and beverages from becoming contaminated, and their light weight saves energy during transportation. Plastic packaging manufacturers need just two pounds of plastic to deliver 10 gallons of juice. To do the same job, you’d need three pounds of aluminium, eight pounds of steel, and more than 40 pounds of glass.

Just as importantly, the plastic resins in PET and HDPE containers are some of the most recycled materials on the planet, and up to 100% of PET plastic bottles can be made from recycled materials. Today, 31% of the PET plastic in the United States gets recycled, and the recovered material can be manufactured into a variety of items, some of which are surely in your home right now.

If you need a little extra incentive to make sure that plastic soda bottle ends up in the blue bin, check out this list of items made from recycled plastic.

1. Meet India’s “Plastic Man”

India has a major garbage problem, and people are using plastic bottles and HDPE containers faster than the country can get rid of them. But Rajagopalan Vasudevan has come up with an incredible solution. Vasudevan patented a method for turning plastic waste into roads and highways, and now he travels the country teaching others how to apply his technique. As of 2014, Bloomberg reported that the “Plastic Man” had already laid more than 3,000 miles of plastic roads.

According to experts, the process is a “win-win-win” solution that “results in stronger roads; and because it replaces as much as 15 percent of more expensive bitumen in the mix used to lay roads, the technology also holds the potential to lower the cost of infrastructure.”

2. Recycled Plastic Keeps You Hip

Last year we wrote about Fair Harbour Clothing, a startup led by a young brother-sister team from Westchester, NY. These enterprising young people make board shorts and other beachwear from recycled plastic containers. It takes just 11 plastic bottles to make one of their swimsuits.

3. Recycled Plastic Keeps You Warm

In addition to T-shirts, sweaters, and other forms of polyester clothing, PET plastics are also used to make the insulation fiberfill that’s inside your winter coats and sleeping bags. You only need 14 bottles to make a ski jacket, and 114 bottles for a sleeping bag.

4. You Could Be Sitting on Recycled Plastic Right Now

Recycled PET plastic isn’t just used for clothing, but for tons of common household items. The plastic bottles and speciality product packaging you use today can be turned into carpets, upholstery, curtains, and of course, the plastic bottles you use tomorrow. Just five 2-liter bottles can be used to make a square yard of polyester carpet.

5. Recycled Plastic Collects Recycled Plastic

While PET plastic (the kind with the #1 recycling label) is used to make more flexible items, recycled HDPE containers are used to make sturdy items, like outdoor furniture, benches, and even those blue recycling bins used in homes across the country.

6. Weird Upcycling Plastic Projects

There’s more than one way to recycle plastic. If you want to see all the weird uses for recycled plastic, click on over to this BoredPanda listicle showing dozens of inventive upcycling projects. Our favorite? The vertical garden made from recycled 2-liter bottles.

7. Plastic: the Fuel of the Future?

This spring, in China, a team of scientists discovered a novel way for turning recycled PET plastic into diesel fuel. The breakthrough method uses two catalysts to get results at a much lower temperature than previously thought possible.

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