What do you do with a fraying pair of old jeans or shoes that have finally reached the end of their lifespan? Or if your community doesn’t recycle certain types of plastics that many cosmetics come in? If you go through your closet and cosmetic supplies, as they run out or grow old, those items often end up in the trashcan. Companies around the world have started recycling and “bring back” programs that allow consumers to give their old items new life. This effort is a great initiative to get us to throw away fewer materials and realize that common items can gain new life, creating a closed loop for resource exploitation.
1. PUMA’s Bring Me Back Program allows consumers to stop by any PUMA store and drop old or broken clean clothes, shoes, and accessories (even non-PUMA items) into their bright red Bring Back Bins. These items are taken to their partner, I-Collect, where they are sorted and either re-used, recycled into new raw material, or up-cycled for industrial use.
2. Back to MAC Program is a bring-back program where costumers can return six empty MAC containers to either a MAC Cosmetics counter or online store. This program has incentives, when you return 6 primary package containers, you’ll receive a free MAC lipstick of your choice.
3. Preserve’s Gimme 5 Recycling Program is on a mission to save #5 plastics, like Brita filters and yogurt cups, from trashcans. This type of plastic is not recycled in many cities around the country. Consumers can drop of #5 plastics at these locations, which include local coop program members and participating Whole Food Markets. Alternatively, you can mail you #5 plastics to Preserve. This unique program turns yogurt cups into toothbrushes and take-out containers into cutting boards, among other high performance bathroom, table, and kitchen products. Each time you recycle through the program your account through Gimme 5’s partner Recyclebank is awarded points that you can use for discounts at businesses nationwide.
4. Patagonia’s Commons Threads Initiative hopes to close the raw material loop by one day making all of the outdoor clothing line’s products from recycled materials costumers donate. The initiative doesn’t start with recycling but encouraged us to reduce, repair, and reuse before we recycle and re-imagine what old items can become. Patagonia accepts shipments of old clothes as well as drop-offs at their store locations.
5. No Nonsense Pantyhose Recycling Program breathes new life into old tights, pantyhose, and knee-high from any brand and through their recycling partners turn them into things you would never expect like park benches, playground equipment, and carpets just to name a few. Simply download their mailing label and ship your collection, giving those hoses you tried to fix with clear nail polish a new use!
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