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What is Made out of Recycled Plastic?

By Erika Peterson
Updated May 16, 2024
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Recycled plastic is used to make many different types of products. The type of product that is made out of recycled plastic depends on the type of plastic resin. There are several different types of plastic resin used to make different products. For example, HDPE, or high density polyethylene, is very tough, and is used to make rigid plastic containers such as milk jugs, film, piping, and beverage bottles. When it is recycled, it is made into pipes, pails, motor oil bottles and detergent containers.

LDPE, or low density polyethylene, is used to make flexible plastics, such as garment bags, grocery and garbage bags, some lids and bottles, typewriter ribbon, squeezable bottles and toys. It is tough, yet flexible, and somewhat transparent. When recycled, it can be made into pallets or new trash bags.

PET, or polyethylene tephthalate, is semi-rigid to rigid, depending on thickness. It makes a good barrier method, especially for use in soft drink bottles. PET can be produced in a thin film, such as that which is used to make Mylar. It is also used for flexible food packaging. When recycled, it is made into fiberfill, carpeting, or non-food containers and bottles.

A polyester fiber called Eco-Fi, or EcoSpun, was developed out of plastic bottles, and is used to make various fabrics. Clothes are now available that have been made from plastic. It can also be used for home furnishings, blanket throws, and carpet.

Other companies have come up with innovate new ways to reuse plastic. One company developed a cellular phone from recycled plastic, and another created a garden composter from 100 percent recycled plastic. Another company specializes in making custom signs from recycled plastic.

Recycling materials uses far less energy than creating them new. Between seven and eight percent of the earth's fossil fuels are used to produce plastic. By recycling only one plastic bottle, we are able to save enough energy to power a 60-watt light bulb for six hours. As the world becomes more and more eco-friendly and environmental hazards rise, we can expect to see continued growth in reusing plastic for our everyday needs.

Plastic is a recyclable material, but most of it does not end up being recycled. As plastic water bottles have become a convenient and relatively inexpensive way to have drinking water on hand, they have contributed just as heartily to the landfills. Around 38 billion water bottles are thrown away each year, and only around 20 percent are recycled. Because the decomposition process of plastic in the landfill doesn't begin for around 700 years, it is important environmentally to recycle this material so it can be reused.

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Discussion Comments
By Rastafareyed — On Feb 18, 2016

@anon167964: Five things made from recycled plastic bags?

Would 500 be OK? Just look up "recycled plastic bags," and images online.

Can anyone please tell me where to find rectangular, plastic reusable containers like the one shown near the bottom left of this page? Looks like it's about 4-6 cups (32-48 oz.) especially if it's recycled and/or made in the US.

By anon977143 — On Nov 08, 2014

Wow! A gigantic, varied number of things made from plastic ... what next? Oh, a good webpage too? Yep. I had to do this for my homework, so thank you to whoever made this wonderful webpage.

By anon267895 — On May 11, 2012

What is the name of the manufacturer in the USA that makes green wipes from plastic bottles?

There is one in Malaysia, but is there one in the USA? --Jay

By anon210875 — On Sep 01, 2011

we have a kind of felt that is made of recycled plastic bottles. it is really eco-friendly, and people can use it more to save the world.

By anon167964 — On Apr 14, 2011

does anyone know five things that can be made of recycled plastic bags? please post.

By anon158495 — On Mar 07, 2011

i didn't know that so many things are made out of plastic.

By KittenTucker — On Jan 29, 2011

@kalley -- I know, it does sound really odd, doesn't it. But yeah, there is something actually called recycled plastic lumber, which is basically like very strong plastic particleboard. It has a lot of advantages of normal lumber too it's graffiti resistant, and it also resists moisture and chemicals. It also doesn't splinter or crack.

It's used to make a ton of things too, everything from picnic tables and park benches, trash cans and bike racks. I'm pretty sure they also make home furniture (kitchen tables and what not) out of recycled lumber too.

Hope that answers your question!

By Kalley — On Jan 27, 2011

It's amazing to see how many different items can be made out of recycled plastic. I've even heard of something called recycled plastic lumber, but I'm not quite sure what that actually is. To me "plastic lumber" sounds like an oxymoron - lumber made out of recycled plastic? Lumber should be made out of wood. Can anybody clue me in as to how lumber can be plastic?

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