Creative Recycling Is Transforming Everything from Beer Bottles to Diapers

Image courtesy Adidas

Recycle of Life

In January, Emirates Airlines introduced the ecoTHREAD blanket, a polar fleece made from 28 recycled plastic bottles.

But there’s a lot more creative recycling out there. Check out nine remarkable new uses for our trash.

1. From Scourge to Sneaker

Last year, Adidas, in partnership with the environmental group Parley for the Oceans, unveiled UltraBOOST Uncaged Parley, a 3D-printed sneaker made entirely from recycled plastic ocean waste. The company plans to produce more than one million pairs of the sneakers in 2017, and they’re hoping the recycling model can be used throughout their line. “…Our ultimate ambition is to eliminate virgin plastic from our supply chain,” Adidas said in a statement.

2. From Bottle to Carpets

Mohawk recycled carpet

Who knew plastic bottles were so versatile? Mohawk, a flooring company founded in 1878, creates their EverStrand carpet out of up to 100% recycled plastic bottles.

3. From CDs to Carburetors

Just because you’ve gone digital doesn’t mean you don’t have a lot of CDs and DVDs floating around. The CD Recycling Center will take the discs (they’re plastic category #7 – typically not handled by plastic bottle recycling plants), and turn them into everything from automotive parts to office equipment.

4. Wine Cork to Yoga Block


Let’s face it – you’ll be going through a lot of wine in 2017. So at least feel good (or better) doing it. ReCORK recycles the endangered substance into consumer products like yoga blocks and traction pads; they also sell recycled cork to manufacturers. ReCORK has a network of more than 3,000 cork collection points throughout the United States.

5. From Beer to Buddhism

Wat Pa Maha Chedi Kaew temple

We suppose this one is a bit far-flung, but perhaps it can inspire your own interior/exterior design. The Wat Pa Maha Chedi Kaew temple in Thailand is constructed of over one million recycled green and brown glass beer bottles. Per Wikipedia, collection of the bottles began in 1984 and it took two years to build the main temple.

6. From Keurig to Collander

preserve recycling

Those Keurig pods are a complete environmental nightmare. Preserve will accept the cleaned pods (as well as old plastic toothbrushes) and metamorphose your coffee fix into a line of kitchen and home products.

7. From Diaper to Domicile

diaper recycling

This one’s not so pretty, but still remarkable. The UK’s Knowaste takes soiled diapers and uses them to create building materials, park benches, roof shingles, and much more.

8. From Toilet to Tarmac

recycled toilets

Along the same lines, the Washington state city of Bellingham recycled 400 porcelain toilets to create sidewalks. “The crushed porcelain made up about 20 percent of the final aggregate mix, diverting about 5 tons of material from a landfill,” according to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

9. From Husk to Hoodie

cocona fabric

The synthetic thread Cocona is made almost entirely from coconut-husk waste. The resulting fabric has proved to be extremely good at staying dry and cool, making it a perfect match for outdoors brands such as Katusha, Carhartt, and Under Armour.