Often when we think of products made from recycled material, we imagine a low quality and low effort kid's toy, like macaroni shakers, paper towel roll guitar, or shoebox dollhouses.
What might surprise you is that we have evolved past that; we are now creating high-quality, highly sought-after, useful products. Recycling is no longer a "cheesy" or boring thing to do.
Let's start a movement to get people excited about recycled material. Below are 7 products that have a "WOW" factor, in terms of their innovation and percentage of secondhand items used.
Alizee.ca (Canada) :
This company makes jackets out of plastic bottles! Averaging 30 to 49 bottles per jacket, they have used over 130 thousand plastic bottles, with the goal of hitting 200 thousand in 2021. These jackets come in a variety of styles and colours, and can stand temperatures as low as -30 C. making them a perfect choice for Canadian winters.
There is so much goodness packed into one mat, I cannot express how much I love this company's values. They repurpose approximately 1 million plastic bags each year. Their plastic floor mats are made from polypropylene, a material that is slow to break down in landfills, but is quickly repurposed when broken down. Their products are made by both international ethically sourced factories (working conditions and age of employees are confirmed and monitored by the company), as well as indigenous artists. They also make sure that individuals work on designs that are native to their location - ensuring the accuracy of the design, as well as making sure the culture is properly acknowledged and compensated.
This company gets right to the point about their industry - "modern pantyhose isn't made to last", and is environmentally harmful to produce. To combat this, their merchandise is made from pre- and post-production nylon waste. Their "Keep it 100" Collection is a pioneer project; it is the world's first 100% recycled pantyhose product.
This company creates backpacks, tote bags, duffle bags and other accessories from sails donated by athletes and sailing enthusiasts. They have reused nearly 17 000 yards (15 thousand metres) of sails since the start of the company in 2012.
Opened in 2009, WeWOOD has a line of watches made from reclaimed wood such as maple, walnut and Indian rosewood. Additionally, when you purchase a watch, the company will plant a new tree. At the time of writing, they have planted over 600 thousand trees!
Noho.co (New Zealand)
The Noho Move chair combines wellbeing with respect for the environment; its ergonomic design allows you to sit comfortably as it supports your posture. These chairs are made from reclaimed fishing nets and old carpets, and are customizable - you can choose from multiple colour schemes so it will match your room's decor.
This company creates countertops from recycled glass. Since 2003, they have diverted 17 million pounds of glass from landfills and given it a second life in the centre of customers' homes.
Recycled is the future! Let's support businesses that make new products out of material that is already in circulation. By encouraging others to do the same, we can change the way we look at discarded materials - just because something has fulfilled its initial intended purpose (like a water bottle, for example), doesn't mean that it can't be used in its "afterlife" to create another product to be enjoyed.