It’s almost the end of Plastic-Free July, and whether you have taken part to the challenge or thrown away a lot of take-away boxes while decluttering the kitchen (team Good Works do not judge), plastic has been in the news a lot lately, and always as the villain. While the Catholic Social Teaching principle of Sustainability makes us want to preserve the earth, the situation is not black and white (for example, disabled people have pointed out how a blanket ban on plastic straws affect those who need a straw to drink, and for whom no good alternative to plastic ones exist at present -or may even be possible-). Furthermore, the problem of what to do with the plastic already existing remains even if measures to tackle the creation of new plastic are in place. Here are 5 companies who are making creative uses of the plastic waste in our recycling bins, giving new life to what has already served its purpose.
Its cofounders made the Forbes’ 30 under 30 list for a reason: the sale of their bracelets has supported paid staff who, at time of writing, had removed 5,425,645 pounds of trash from the oceans. Each bracelet is made with a pound of plastic (and glass) bottles found in the sea and on beaches, creating a sustainable cycle that is making our planet a better place.
Terracycle x Colgate
Unless you swapped to a bamboo brush, chances are your toothbrush is from Colgate, one of the biggest companies in oral care. They partnered with New Zealander recycling company Terracycle to fund a programme turning previously non-recyclable plastic (such as the one found in their products) into hard plastic which is then used to make new things.
100% recycled plastic and non-toxic soy ink make up these beautiful toys. At time of writing, they have kept 78,757,429 milk jugs away from the landfill. In addition to this, they also take care of having a low waste and low footprint at all stages of the production process, from design and manufacturing in California (a state with strict environmental laws) to their packaging made of 100% recyclable cardboard with nothing added.
An open-source pattern to build machines which turn plastic into shreds that can be turned into new material, and an attached shop where the community can sell what they have created. It has made possible a number of projects across the world which have had a significant impact locally, and as a result on the planet as a whole. Its emphasis on community and collaboration is also a big winner with us!
At time of writing, 34,642, 873 bottles have been saved from the landfill to become beautiful knitted shoes for women and children. They are stylish and it’s difficult to guess their origin without being told. Their beautiful Instagram feed (which shows their own promotional images mixed with photos from people tagged #rothysinthewild) is a testament to how versatile they are in terms of style: it’s a far cry from the old days when to buy an ethical brand meant to sacrifice one’s style for a standard boho one. We can’t wait to see their men’s collection if they ever expand.