5 innovative uses for recycled materials

Choosing to buy products and packaging made from recycled materials is a great way to help reduce waste and support New Zealand’s transition to a circular economy approach.

If you’re keen to buy recycled, or are simply interested to find out what kind of products are made from recycled materials, here’s a selection of products made locally and abroad from recyclables.

Turning toothbrushes into watering cans, waste bins and park benches

TerraCycle is a global company dedicated to “recycling the unrecyclable” and in New Zealand has partnered with Colgate to collect used toothbrushes, toothpaste tubes and caps, floss containers and their outer packaging for recycling. Once collected, the plastics are melted down into hard plastic that can be remolded to make new recycled products.

Wishbone Design Studio’s balance bike

This innovative New Zealand company has created a ‘recycled edition’ of their kids’ bike, which converts from a push-trike to a balance bike. The frame is made from 100 per cent recycled plastic that comes from pre-loved, residential carpet.

Green toys for babies and toddlers

Green Toys is a US company that uses only sustainable materials in their products, including 100 per cent recycled plastic and cardboard packaging – and even soy inks!

Carpet tiles made of recycled plastic bottles

Carpet manufacturers are turning to recycled plastic bottles to make carpet and carpet tiles. For example, Robert Malcolm’s Mix-Bac carpet tiles are made from both recycled plastic bottles and bitumen.

Turning milk cartons into roof tiles, books and paper

In New Zealand, milk cartons (including the straw and straw wrapper) are collected from schools participating in the Fonterra Milk for Schools Programme. They are broken down into components (paper, aluminium foil and plastic) and recycled into roof tiles, books and paper. Since the scheme began, more than 600 tonnes of waste materials have been recycled into new school books for children.

Check out our article on the benefits of buying recycled.

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5 innovative uses for recycled materials