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If you’re like us, you know that recycling is one of the easiest things you can do to support a green lifestyle and help the earth. But of the more than 300 million tons of new, virgin plastic produced globally per year, it is estimated that up to 129 million tons (43 percent) of the plastic used is disposed of in landfills; in the United States, the EPA’s most recent report places the plastics recovery rate for recycling at 9 percent.

Why is so little of the world’s plastic getting recycled? The simple answer is that not enough companies make their products and packaging out of recycled plastic, as new, virgin plastic is currently less expensive to produce and buy.

But despite this economic limitation, some manufacturers and major brands are leading the charge to a “New Plastics Economy,” purchasing recycled materials to make their products and selling them to consumers:

Procter & Gamble
Procter & Gamble
Procter & Gamble has teamed up with us at TerraCycle and SUEZ, the largest waste management company in Europe, to put out the first fully recyclable shampoo bottle made from up to 25% recycled beach plastic for the world’s #1 shampoo brand, Head & Shoulders. Working directly with NGOs and other beach cleanup organizations, TerraCycle sources the shipments of rigid plastics collected through beach cleanup efforts, capturing these materials for recycling for the first time. The first 150,000 bottles will be available in France this summer.

Adidas
Adidas
Multi-national fitness and lifestyle brand Adidas recently teamed with up Parley, organization raising awareness against ocean pollution, to create prototypes for shoes also featuring materials created from ocean waste. First came a partially 3D-printed shoe, then the limited-edition Adidas x Parley, a running sneaker that reached the consumer through an Instagram contest. At the end of 2016, 7,000 pairs of the UltraBoost Uncaged Parley were released to the public at $200 retail; depending on the demand, Adidas hopes to produce at least a million pairs using ocean plastic by the end of the year.

Girlfriend Collective
Girlfriend Collective
Girlfriend Collective, a new company from Seattle, Washington, is taking the simple black legging, a popular women’s wardrobe staple, and making high quality, ethically made pieces of clothing out of recycled polyester (RPET) made from old water bottles. Designed to be high-waisted, not pill or get baggy, and be completely opaque, each pair of leggings uses 25 water bottles to make. Also, the leggings are made ethically in a Vietnamese factory that’s SA8000-certified, meaning that the social accountability standards developed by Social Accountability International (which overlap with Fairtrade) are met.

The key to increasing the plastics recovery rate here in the U.S. and around the world is marketplace activism from consumers like you. Consumers already see recyclability as an important factor in choosing sustainable products, and it is consumers ultimately drive company behavior. Creating a demand for products and packaging made from recycled materials by buying differently and generating awareness will influence more manufacturers and major brands to ramp up their sustainability goals. Seeking out companies that already use recycled content is the first step.



www.Dishmag.com / Issue 188 - November 2017
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