The phrase “second life” can refer to the “dream life” that one might have lived, had one’s first life not gotten in the way.
For example, a second life might involve making headlines as a world renowned astronaut instead of blogging for the American Chemistry Council (maybe that’s just me)? But that’s not the point– recently, two California companies, Robert Mann Packaging in Salinas and Direct Pack, a SoCal recycling company that focuses on sustainable packaging, teamed up and devised a plan (and received an approval) to make clamshell packaging for strawberries out of recycled water bottles. The new partnership will create jobs and give the water bottle the second life it’s always dreamed of! (For those of you insanely jealous that this opportunity is not yet available to humans, you can always try creating a second life virtually).
But what this news also tells us is that California companies are investing in recycling and the manufacturing of recycled products. In fact, A recent survey of green businesses in California conducted by the Center for Community Innovation found that the green economy is growing about 50 percent faster than the rest of the economy overall.
Recycling currently accounts for 85,000 jobs in California. For every 1000 tons of waste recycled, 5 jobs are created within the state, versus the 2.5 jobs that are created when 1000 tons of waste is distributed to a landfill.
That makes the public-private partnerships we support in California a helpful and necessary component in diverting these valuable plastics away from landfills and into the recycling stream. Over the past 3 years we’ve placed nearly 700 recycling bins along California’s coastline, at rest areas and in parks. In 2010, this effort yielded more than 45 tons of plastic and over 105 tons of other recyclable materials—a steady supply of plastics post-consumer materials helps to spur innovative new products (like strawberry clamshells), which can help boost local jobs and economies – while beautifying the state.
Plus, recycling plastics and other materials helps conserve energy and resources, cut greenhouse gas emissions and reduce litter.
The fate of recycled water bottles isn’t etched in stone as fruit packaging; recycled bottles are becoming increasingly popular in the creation of other useful products such as fleece, pet beds, and even Nike’s soccer uniforms as seen in the 2010 World Cup. This innovative new clamshell packaging just adds to the growing list of uses for recycled PET.
Cheers to recycling efforts throughout California for giving the plastic bottle the opportunity to live its second life to the fullest – packed with strawberries! And cheers to Californians who are committed to recycling at home and on the go!
The following is a guest post by Keith Christman, Managing Director of Plastics Markets, American Chemistry Council.