Does recycling really make a difference? The (annoyingly vague) answer: Yes…and no. Recycling in and of itself doesn’t save the planet from tons and tons of waste–the real difference comes from creating new products from those recycled materials. From children’s toys made of milk jugs, to wallets made of sail cloth, there are amazing companies that don’t just reduce their impact, they actively prevent trash from entering our landfills and oceans, closing the loop to a circular economy. These super cool upcycled and recycled treasures might just change the way you look at trash!
We’ve all heard the horror stories about the gyres of plastic trash (just look at what happens to plastic straws) in the oceans, or sea turtles getting tied up in plastic 6-pack rings. But how can all this ocean trash be transformed? Bureo is tackling part of the problem with their recycling program Net Positiva, working with locals in Chile to collect discarded fishing nets and turn them into something totally new. The result? Durable, eco-friendly skateboard decks, each made from 50 square feet of recycled fishing nets. It’ll arrive at your door in recycled and recyclable packaging, and when it reaches the end of its life, you can send it back to Bureo to be recycled again!
Every year, the U.S. Federal Reserve removes and destroys about 5,000 tons of money, costing millions of dollars (and tons of trees!). RADIUS saw this huge waste of resources, and found a way to use this recycled money in the handles of their classic Source toothbrush. Made in Pennsylvania on low-energy machines in a women-run solar powered factory, this crafty toothbrush is certified cruelty-free by PETA and Leaping Bunny, vegan, and BPA-free. Plus, the bristles are made from vegetable-based nylon, and can be replaced, so you can keep your money handle for years and years.
This tiny speaker has a huge positive environmental impact. House of Marley’s upcycled tech and music gear not only uses recycled and upcycled materials like hemp, aluminum, plastic bottles, and cotton–they also plant a tree for every item purchased, with over 25,000 trees planted to-date! Standing at 3.3 inches tall, this little powerhouse has 6 hours of playtime, a clip to hang from your bag, and a splash resistant exterior. Superior sound, sustainably crafted.
Founded and crafted in Maine, Flowfold is addressing the problem of sailcloth waste with their upcycled and vegan wallets made from reclaimed racing sailcloth, originally constructed from a blend of mylar, polyester, and aramid fabrics. These sailcloths are particularly damaging to the environment due to their complex material makeup, as well as their tendency to unfurl in landfills, which can cover and “lock in” other waste. Flowfold takes this durable, lightweight material and instead creates hardy, low-impact wallets (shipped in recycled mailers!) that will last you for years.
Alchemy Goods has created value out of the seemingly invaluable with their upcycled bike inner tube bags. Handmade locally in Seattle, they’ve set up programs that collect reclaimed bicycle inner tubes from bike shops across the country to use in their unique, durable bags and wallets. So far, they’ve upcycled over 500,000 tubes! With a padded laptop sleeve, padded straps, and colorful zippers–you’ll love the classic functionality paired with a bold upcycled style.
Discover a bag so cute, you’d never know it’s made from 12 plastic water bottles! Haiku constructs all their vegan pieces from CyclePET, a durable recycled polyester fabric that’s water resistant, inside and out! Lift up the stylish front flap of this crossbody to reveal a RFID-blocking ID holder that protects all your vital info from theft. These bags were created by women, for women (and the planet!)
The awesome power of recycling trash into treasure isn’t just for accessories–there’s some seriously amazing clothing out there that helps to combats the thousands of tons of textiles that end up in our landfills every day! This eco-tee from Bighorn, shipped in a recycled mailer, uses 65% recycled polyester and 35% recycled cotton, making it 100% a go-to closet essential.
What better way to teach your little one about recycling than with a recycling truck, made from recycled milk jugs? Green Toys makes all their BPA-free, phthalate-free, PVC-free toys from 100% recycled content, with no added metal axles. Manufactured locally in the USA, every pound of recycled milk jugs that goes into their fun kids toys saves enough energy to power 3,000 AAA batteries, or a laptop computer for a month!
The problem: rock climbing gear, especially climbing rope, is not the place to let frays and breakage slide. Lives literally depend on it! That’s why, when climbing company Sterling Rope gives their ropes a quality check, some just don’t make the cut.
The solution: Turn these still barely imperfect climbing ropes into colorful dog leashes that are strong enough to wrangle any pup. Made in America, FlowFold’s 6ft leashes keep climbing ropes out of the landfill, and your dog within reach!
Thanks to fast fashion, the average American will throw away 81 pounds of clothing textiles each year–which adds up to 26 billion pounds of clothing annually! Osom Brand keeps these textiles out of the trash by turning them into innovative socks made from 95% upcycled textiles. Plus, their upcycling process requires no dyes or water, and they ship their awesome socks in envelopes made from 100% recycled polyester!
Plastic water bottles are out–and reusables are in! But the key to making the switch is all about preparedness, and that means bringing your bottle with you wherever you wander. This neat bottle sling features an exterior made from recycled PET, a strap liner from recycled polypropylene, and a 78% recycled aluminum carabiner. You can even send this bottle sling back to ChicoBag at the end of its life to be recycled into a totally new item! That’s recycling, on recycling, on recycling.