Your Old Stuff and Our Endless Creativity

This Post is Prepared by Donnie Dann

The variety of “things” in our lives that can be made from other things is astonishing. Warm fleece clothing, toys, sunglasses, graduation gowns, belts, bikes, wallets, plain bond paper, backpacks, underclothes, exhibition space and footwear can all be made from recycled materials, and that just the tip of the iceberg.

With the world population producing 1.3 billion tons of waste each year, and each person in the United States accounting for 4.6 pounds of trash every day on average, it is incumbent on all of us not just to recycle, but also to seek out products made from what we and others have discarded, whenever and wherever possible.

For example, my local waste agency accepts used shoes and boots for recycling. From their website: “Shoes in any condition, from new or gently used, to those that are worn, will be accepted. Even those with stains or holes will be accepted. And, the great news is that 95% or more of all the materials collected will be recycled or reused and not only that – you can be a part of this great effort!”

Here are just a few sources and their wares, almost all of which were made from recycled materials:

  • SPLAFF, which makes sandals, belts, bags, wallets and guitar straps;
  • RSVLTS’ list of eco-friendly consumer products, including guitars, furniture, chess sets, purses and sunglasses;
  • Mental Floss’ list of products made from recycled materials, including briefcases, backpacks, clothes, kitchen towels and toys;
  • ROTHY’S, which makes women’s shoes from recycled plastic water bottles, 86% of which normally end up in a landfill or incinerator.

The list above only addresses consumer products; however, industrial recycling and the utility achievable by reusing industrial scrap can make an even greater impact.

For more details on what you can do to recycle your own household or commercial refuse, please check out the following companies (there are many others) and the recycling services they make available:

Bottom line is, whenever possible, buy products that are made from the largest percentage of recycled materials, and remember, recycle your own stuff.

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