7 Cool Gifts Made of Recycled Materials to Close the Loop

The best thing about the Eco Fleece Robe pictured below isn’t that it’s as warm as wool yet a lot lighter. It’s not even the fact that its manufacture kept about 25 two-liter plastic bottles out of the landfill or incinerator.

The best thing about this robe is that it closes the loop.

Recycling is virtuous, but it’s only good for the planet when all those bottles and such are made into useful products people want to buy. Making products from recycled materials builds markets for non-virgin manufacturing materials. In turn, increased demand makes recycling more cost-effective for waste haulers and more available and affordable to more
consumers. Recycling and remanufacturing are also nearly 200 times more effective at reducing greenhouse gas emissions than landfilling and virgin manufacturing.

To make a garment like this, plastic soda bottles are rinsed, melted down, stretched out into long fibers and spun into soft, brushed polyester. The result is the same fabric used to make a standard fleece garment, but in a version that closes the recycling loop — and reduces petroleum consumption.

Why choosing products crafted of recycled materials makes a difference

Studies show that 7 to 8 percent of the world’s fossil fuels go into making new plastic — but recycling one million tons of PET plastic (like soda bottles) saves more than 9 million barrels of oil, according to Eco-Cycle. That’s nothing to sneeze at when gas prices are skyrocketing and many experts say oil supplies are peaking.

Plastics are among many materials that can be recycled into useful products. Flip-flops are made into nearly indestructible doormats. Glass bottles are transformed into enduring,
artful and functional home décor. Reclaimed barnwood and wine barrels are crafted into useful furnishings.

It’s about ecologically intelligent design: Rather than making an item from virgin materials and then throwing it “away,” today’s smartest designs tap into the precious energy those materials retain even when the product has reached the end of its useful life.

Give new meaning to "re-gift"

7 gifts that close the recycling loop

  1. This Copper Fire Bowl is made from recycled copper.
Copper pitcher
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Copper Fire Bowl
Tossed flip-flops are crafted into this colorful doormat. 
Flip-flops
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Flip-Flop Doormat
This Eco Fleece Robe is made from recycled soda bottles.
Plastic bottle
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Eco Fleece Robe
Recycled wine barrels are used to create this Recycled Wine Barrel Chair.
Wine barrel
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Wine Barrel Chair
This artful wasp catcher is created from recycled glass.
Glass bottles
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Glass Wasp Catcher
Like the fleece robe, the Everything Fits Gym Bag is made from recycled soda bottles.
Plastic bottle
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Everything Fits Gym Bag
Recycled steel oil drums are used to craft the Double Tree of Life Wall Sculpture.
Oil barrel
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Tree of Life Sculpture

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