Until recently, used plastic bottles were a threat to the environment. Full stop. With such a small percentage recycled (about 17%), the overwhelming majority ended up in landfills or incinerators. Even now, upwards of 60 million bottles end up in landfills every day. That’s 21,900,000,000 each year. And they will stay there, on average, for over 700 years before completely breaking down.
But, before we get to the good news, let’s take a look at the negative impact this has on our planet and economy.
THE BAD NEWS
Plastic is made from oil. Plastic water bottles account for over 50 million barrels of oil in the US alone. With only 17% of that recycled, we are literally throwing away 41 million barrels of oil each year. We are literally wasting oil to drink water. And as a country that is seeking to decrease its dependence on foreign oil, this is counterproductive. Consider the following from Mother Jones:
Plastic is expensive to produce. The resin used to create plastic bottles costs $0.83 – $0.85 per pound, while recycled plastic costs manufacturers $0.58 – $0.66 per pound. That’s a significant savings. While there are some issues with recycling, it is getting easier every year as technology catches up to the demand.
THE GOOD NEWS
Plastic bottles can now be made into clothing. Plastic has been used to make clothing for years. Look at the labels on your clothes. If you see polyester, nylon, or acrylic, then your clothing is, at least partially, made from plastics. What’s been amazing to see in the last few years, is how commonplace it has become for clothing to be made from recycled plastic.
Used plastic water bottles are washed, cut into tiny pieces, and then either spun into fiber that can be made into clothing, or blended with cotton or other material, and spun into yarn. Many well known companies are leading the way on this front. Brands like Nike, Adidas, and Patagonia all have recycled or upcycled options. In fact, most of the uniforms in the last World Cup, were made by Nike using 100% recycled plastic.
All of our shirts and bags are made from recycled plastic. We know that you want to help reduce the amount of plastic in landfills, cut down on practices that waste the earth’s limited resources, and make an impact that will be felt for generations, so we provide a way for you to represent your brand, team, company, school, etc… that reflects and supports these values. And since recycled plastic is cheaper to produce than new plastic, our shirts are affordable, too.