You probably don’t give your plastic water bottle much thought after you throw it in your recycling bin. However, the fact is that material from recycled objects ends up in all kinds of surprising places (maybe even the jacket you’re wearing today). Read on for a roundup of 15 amazing things that you didn’t realize contained recyclable material.
Don’t panic: you’re not using someone else’s bristles to brush your teeth. It’s the handle of the Preserve toothbrush that’s made from a surprising source of recycled material: single-serve yogurt cups. Best of all, when you’re finished with the toothbrush, you can recycle it again through the company’s mail-in recycling program.
If you’ve ever felt like it was wasteful to use that small bar of hotel soap just once or twice, you’ll be happy to learn that some hotels transform leftover soap into more soap. Used bars of soap can be cleaned and reformed into new bars, which are often sent to developing countries where soap and other cleaning products can be more difficult to obtain.
Since a wide variety of materials are needed to manufacture cars, it’s not altogether surprising to learn that a great deal of it comes from recycled sources. Car components such as seat cushions, wheel liners, and splashguards are typically manufactured from recycled plastic products such as bottle caps and containers, while soundproofing components make use of recycled cardboard.
High-performance outdoor winter jackets are frequently made from recycled plastic water and soda bottles. Creating the polyester lining of some jackets can take the material equivalent of as many as 150 containers.
Like winter jackets, sleeping bags make good use of shredded recycled plastics for their toasty and cozy insulation filling. However, fiber materials with good insulative properties can be used as well including, in some cases, materials as unexpected as discarded coconut shells.
You continue to make an impact on this earth even after you’ve left it. That’s why a growing number of companies are helping to make your last choice a sustainable one by manufacturing coffins that are partially made from recycled paper. (Other green coffin options include biodegradable models or those made from rapidly renewable resources such as bamboo.)
Researchers from the University of Maine have created golf balls from what might seem like an unlikely source of recycled material: lobster shells. Developed from crushed crustacean shells sourced from local industrial food plants (and enclosed in a biodegradable casing), the golf balls were specially created for use on cruise ships, where vacationing golfers contribute to the problem of marine litter by hitting hundreds of thousands of balls into the ocean every year.
When recycled glass is ground down into very fine shards known as “cullets,” it produces a smooth-surfaced material that’s ideal for use in bricks. Depending on when your home was built, you could be living in a glass house without even realizing it.
Some kitty litter brands source recycled newspapers from local centers to make their products. Not only are these brands popular with cat owners due their sustainability, but the fact that they’re not clay-based, like many other types of kitty litter, also means that there is less dust and dirt for cats to trail around the house.
You wouldn’t take a soda can out to your local field to hit a few balls. Many aluminum baseball bats are sourced from recycled aluminum cans. (Due to its versatility and resistance to heat and rust, recycled aluminum actually ends up in a wide variety of products, including pie plates, thumbtacks, and vehicle license plates.)
The environmental impact of furnishing a major stadium adds up quickly when you think about the tens of thousands of seats that the average stadium contains (as well as the thousands of stadiums all over the world). To address this, most major stadiums are already installing chairs made from recycled plastic and scrap iron. Existing chairs are recycled in their turn, often being donated to provide seating for smaller leagues or venues.
Asphalt manufacturers are increasingly relying on a surprising source of recycled material: discarded roofing shingles. Ground up shingles are increasingly being used as aggregate in the asphalt blends that pave everything from highways to driveways. In addition, the reflective properties of highway markers often receive a boost from the use of recycled glass.
A lot of unused, shaved-off rubber is produced during the process of manufacturing tennis balls. However, rather than let these extras go to waste, companies simply repurpose these remnants, which help them make up to 2 million more balls every year.