No matter where you go, you hear people discussing the virtues of recycling. Personally, I am a huge fan of the “three R’s”; recycle, reduce & reuse, or should I say “four R’s”, have to add my favorite, re-purpose. The environmentally conscious tell us we should avoid purchasing items made with plastic like plastic water bottles or even the plastic bags at the grocery store. OK, cutting out water bottles & plastic grocery bags is easy, but plastic is all around us. Is it even possible to name one thing that cannot be made from plastic? Why not purchase items made from recycled plastic?
This got me thinking, what happens to all those plastic water bottles and milk jugs we put in the recycling bin? Off I go to the World Wide Web in search of answers. What I found was amazing. There are thousands of products from gloves, clothing and dishware to furniture, playground equipment and snowboards made from recycled plastics. A consumer guide lists manufacturers and distributors for more than 5,000 recycled products*. Because gardening is my favorite pastime, I focused my search on items for my garden and landscape made from recycled plastic.
Some recycled items we currently use in our garden and outdoor living business:
- Trex decking made from reclaimed plastic and wood – materials that would otherwise go unused in landfills. Trex keeps some 400 million pounds of plastic and wood scrap out of landfills every year.
- Root Pouch offers a range of sustainable gardening products made from a mix of recycled water bottles and natural recycled materials. Not one drop of new oil, petroleum or fossil fuel is used in their products, which include plant pots, vertical garden pouches, erosion and sand bags.
- Rainforest ecological sprinkler is the world’s first, 100% recycled lawn & garden sprinkler with the same water saving qualities as there other sprinklers but made from 100% recycled plastic.
- Recycled rubber mulch although not made from plastic, is a cool recycled product for the garden.
Other fun products, that are new to me:
- Green Gear for the Garden: Looking for gardening gear made from recycled plastics? Companies today are producing gardening gloves made with water-resistant plastic fibers from recycled plastic bottles- each glove diverts one water bottle from the waste stream.
- Add GREENery: One of the latest trends in design is vertical gardens. Innovative plastic containers, such as Woolly Pockets, help consumers beautify their backyard desks and pergolas without the dirt. Made from 100% recycled plastics, the pockets can be hung from any vertical surface to grow a garden.
- Urban Bee Keeping: With American bee population drastically on the decline, urban bee keeping is a growing hobby amongst garden enthusiasts. The plastic Beehaus is designed to make keeping bees easier in smaller gardens and rooftops. The plastic layers used to construct the Beehaus create pockets of air so bees can maintain the 95 degrees they need to live, work and grow.
- By the Yard offers beautiful maintenance free, outdoor furniture made from recycled plastic milk jugs!
- MasterMark decks, lattice, edging, landscape supplies, garden supplies have been made with recycled materials since 1966. They recycle over 1 billion plastic containers a year!:
Many of the these tips were found at Plastic Makes it Possible, a campaign dedicated to helping educate consumers about how plastics can be reused and recycled.
*Recycling Data Management Corp., P.O. Box 577, Ogdensburg, NY 13669. Phone: (800) 267-0707 to order the Official Recycled Products Guide