Work For Impact

10 brands turning plastic waste into innovative products

Have you heard about the Plastic Free July Movement? This movement is doing an incredible job by raising awareness about the urgent need to reduce plastic waste and help people be part of the solution over July. 

Even if we are at the end of the month, we must keep doing our part to reduce our plastic consumption and help to solve plastic pollution consistently.

So you can imagine the scale of the problem, one garbage truck of plastic is dumped into our oceans every minute. As a result, garbage islands are created as the great pacific garbage patch. According to Seaspiracy, this collection of garbage in the pacific ocean has 3x the size of France, made up of 46% of fishing nets. Keeping the trash rates, by 2050, it is expected to have almost 400 million metric tons of plastic in the sea. And we aren’t considering the plastic ending up in landfills. 

For these reasons, it is crucial to keep working towards more sustainable solutions: the ability to transform plastic waste into something valuable might be one of them. That’s why many companies are on a mission to revert plastic pollution by giving up virgin plastics and using recycled plastic to produce their innovative products. 

From clothes to toys and from yoga mats to pet products, we share with you 10 brands using recycled plastic to produce their products.

1. Bureo – collecting discarded fishing nets to build products 

Bureo was born with the mission to keep discarded fishing nets out of the oceans and turn them into recycled products by partnering with brands such as Patagonia, Carver, and Jenga.

In terms of process, Bureo collects the fishing nets in South America from 50 fisheries. After, the team clean the nets, separate them by material type and organize them for transportation. Then, all the materials are shredded and melted into pellets that are transformed into quality products. 

With over 3.4 Million Pounds of fishing nets collected to date, Bureo built several recycled products like Jenga Games,  Skateboards, Clothes and Sunglasses to help protect our ocean. 

2. Zouri – vegan footwear made out of ocean plastics

Founded by Adriana Mano, Zouri is a Portuguese vegan footwear brand using plastic from the ocean to craft sneakers. 

With a fair and ethical production, this brand produces every pair of shoes by mixing plastic ocean waste with ecologic materials such as organic cotton, Piñatex and natural rubber. 

By partnering with local organizations, NGOs, and schools, Zouri already removed 1 ton of plastic from the Portuguese coastline in a continuous effort to maintain the beaches clean. 

3. Ecoalf – fashion clothes made sustainably 

Ecoalf is a sustainable fashion and certified B corp brand. 

Javier Goyeneche founded this company to make fashion more sustainable by implementing recycling principles. Ecoalf uses recycled materials from discarded fishing nets, post-consumer plastics bottles, and low-impact natural fibers to produce its products. 

With over 700 tons of waste taken out of the ocean and 250 million plastic bottles recycled, EcoAlf is committed to protecting our planet and reducing the consumption of natural resources irresponsibly.

4. Swaggr – recycled plastic bottles turned into socks

On a mission to help eliminate ocean pollution, Swaggr found a way to create socks.

By collecting plastic bottles from beaches, they convert them into beads and transform them into plastic-based yarn to produce comfortable, stretchable, and breathable socks.

With sustainability as part of every decision, Swaggr is limiting the carbon footprint of their supply chain, using recycled and compostable packaging and donating 1% to ocean conservation. 

From waffle knit to athletic models, every pair of socks contains over three recycled plastic bottles to take a good step in solving plastic pollution. 

5. Paravel – sustainable luggage to explore the world.

Paravel is a sustainable travel brand helping people explore the world while reducing the impact. 

From luggage to bags and accessories, Paravel uses sustainable materials to produce its products, like upcycled plastic bottles, vegan leather, recycled polycarbonate, eco craft canvas, jute, and circular cotton.

With sustainability in mind, this travel brand already upcycled over 2 million plastic bottles, planted over 55,000 trees, and made the offset of 8,150 tons of CO2 to cultivate a positive impact on the planet.

6. Low Tides – beach chairs for cleaner ocean tides.

Brenton Hutchinson decided to create Low Tides Products after reading a shocking article about ocean plastic while enjoying a beach day.

From plastic collection to production, each Low Tides Chair is made in 16 weeks. Easy to carry and equipped with 2 cup holders, the Low Tides chair is a stylish and socially responsible beach chair made with recycled ocean plastic.

Once you receive yours,  you are contributing to saving the ocean for future generations. 

7. Suga – from wetsuits to yoga mats

Suga is a Californian yoga mats brand that found a way to divert wetsuits from landfills.

As wetsuits are made out of petroleum-based products, Suga collects used and damaged wetsuits and transforms them into comfortable, long-lasting, and quality yoga mats. By taking responsibility for their products at the end of life, this brand implemented two programmes, allowing customers to return mats and assure their recyclability into new ones. 

Grounded in a culture of environmental stewardship, Suga already collected 12,574 wetsuits and diverted 32 tons of neoprene from the landfills. 

8. Ecobin – recycled bins for waste management. 

Ecobin was born to empower people to separate waste at home or at the office in a colorful and organized way. Their bins are produced from recycled plastic, consuming 50% less energy and water, and flat packed to reduce transport emissions. 

This waste management system was created to change waste habits, because, separating waste at the source helps decrease greenhouse gas emissions and virgin materials,

9. Green Toys – milk jugs transformed into toys

Green Toys is an innovative and eco-friendly toy company that sells toys 100% made of recycled milk jugs. Every toy is designed according to environmental and safety laws to assure sustainability, quality, and safety of their products.

Considering sustainability beyond the product, the packaging is made with recycled cardboard and printed with minimal color using soy ink. Compared to petroleum-based ink, Soy ink biodegrades four times faster and is a natural and renewable resource. 

With over 110 million milk jugs recycled up to date, Green Toys divert plastic from the landfills, save energy and reduce their carbon footprint.  These are safe toys for your kid to play with and great toys for the environment. 

10. AniPal – Eco-friendly pet accessories.

The veterinarian Steph Stubbe thought about giving a second life to plastic waste by turning it into pet products, as she was seriously concerned about the injuries to wildlife caused by human pollution.

Since its creation, this pet accessories brand has recycled over 100,000 post-consumer plastic bottles to create pet products, from leashes to collars. Compared to the alternatives on the market, AniPal uses 86% less water, 70% less energy, and releases 75% less CO2 emissions during the manufacturing process.  

Aiming to lead by example, this eco-friendly pet product company is on a mission to inspire veterinary and broader animal industries to adopt proactive and sustainable practices.

Try to look for sustainable alternatives. 

Instead of using natural resources and keeping the uncontrolled raw materials extraction, these brands took the leap with sustainability at the core. All of them decided to help get plastics out of our oceans and landfills and turn them into purposeful and quality recycled products.  And you can have an important role here. 

Before buying anything new, try to look for more sustainable alternatives. You can search for brands using recycled materials, organic and eco-friendly components to build the product you look for. 

Your choices can help reduce waste, help companies tackle pollution issues and make a positive difference in the environment. 

Do you use any other brand using recycled materials to build their products? What brands would you highlight on this list?  We’ll be more than happy to meet new ones. 

Want to reduce your plastic consumption? Take a look at the article: 10 strategies to reduce plastic waste at home.