What products can be made from recycled PET plastic?

Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic is one of the most commonly recycled plastic materials, and most of it is used to make new recycled plastic drinking bottles. But this “#1 plastic” is so versatile and easy to recycle that it can also be used for other purposes, ranging from carpet to pet beds to clothes and shoes.

Here are some of the many products that are being created from recycled PET plastic:

  • Board shorts: Billabong is a popular Australian clothing company selling surfwear worldwide. The company got a lot of publicity back in 2008 when it introduced a new type of board shorts made from 100% recycled PET plastic. The fabric is known as Eco Supreme Suede, and it is made from PET plastic flakes that are dried and then converted to fiber via a process called polymerization. Each pair of board shorts uses the equivalent of approximately 10 recycled plastic PET bottles. As of June 2010, Billabong had recycled approximately 6 million plastic PET bottles to manufacture its Eco Supreme Suede fabric for these environmentally friendly board shorts.
  • Running shoes: New Balance has introduced a new running shoe, the newSKY, which has an upper portion that is made from 95% recycled PET plastic. The shoes are made with Eco-Fi, a high quality polyester fiber. Each pair of shoes requires approximately 8 20-ounce plastic PET bottles to create. Foss Manufacturing, the maker of Eco-Fi, believes that the strength and versatility of this recycled PET plastic fabric could make it a potential replacement for almost any household consumer item that is currently made from polyester. Recycled PET plastic is ideal for making shoes because the material is 10% lighter than cotton, and tends to keep out cold and block water better than nylon or wool.
  • PET recycling for Pet beds: Who knew that recycling “PET” plastic could make life better for “pets” (animals)? West Paw Design is a maker of pet beds, toys and accessories for dogs and cats. Ever since 2006, West Paw Designs has been making their pet beds out of IntelliLoft® material, a fiber fill made from 100% recycled plastic PET bottles. West Paw Design has saved over 4.6 million plastic PET bottles from going to the landfill, and the manufacturing process takes 8 times less energy by using recycled PET plastic instead of new material.
  • Carpet made from PET plastic bottles: Since so much carpeting is made from polyester, it’s no surprise that recycled PET plastic is an ideal component to use in making eco-friendly carpets. Shaw Floors has introduced a line of carpet called ClearTouch that is made from plastic PET bottles. The carpets are known for their appearance retention, exceptional softness and durability – with the latest innovations from Shaw Floors and other carpet companies, carpets made from PET plastic bottles should perform just as well (or better) compared to traditional carpets.

BlackBridge Investments supplies PET plastic scrap to companies that are creating remarkable and innovative new products, using material that might otherwise end up in a landfill. This is one part of our business that we especially enjoy and take pride in – creating something new and useful. Yesterday’s scrap plastic could be tomorrow’s valued addition to someone’s home, a sleek new pair of running shoes, or a restful bed for someone’s cat or dog.

What are some of the most interesting/amazing/surprising products that you’ve seen made from recycled PET plastic?