You, Recycling, and Your Outdoor Lifestyle

Smoke Stack from Sugar Factory in Belle Glade FloridaWe all love the outdoors to one extent or another. Even your average city-slicking, fast-food-eating, pant-suit-wearing average Joe will admit that he likes a breath of fresh air from time to time. These days fresh air is harder and harder to come by. The burning of fossil fuels, and petroleum-based products has pushed mankind over the brink of sustainability and caused us to re-evaluate some of the ways we deal with manufacturing every day products!

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Enter RECYCLING! It turns out, a lot of the energy and land used to dispose of our waste, can be easily allocated to sorting, separating and reusing these products to create something new and just as useful. In the outdoors community, this has caught on like wildfire, and companies are beginning to set a trend:  recycling is cool!

Now, you may be wondering how you as an outdoor enthusiast can change your practices to embrace recycling. Here are a few eye-opening ideas for products that are keeping tons of waste out of our landfills and incinerators!


Ever pop a bike tube and just throw it away? As it happens, there are many ways that this seemingly useless waste product can be converted into an everyday usable item, and diverted from the landfill. Companies like Alchemy Goods, Green Guru Gear and several other startup companies have begun to produce apparel and accessories from bike tubes and the likes. Serving as a waterproof membrane when stitched together, these companies have succeeded in creating lines of multi-use messenger bags, packs, and everyday accessories that keep hundreds of thousands of pounds of rubber from reaching the landfill!

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Have you noticed in recent months that grocery stores are charging you for your plastic bags? Well, if you know whats good for you, you’ve probably bought a reusable grocery bag. Before you buy one from the store, check out these reusable bags made from recycled vinyl billboards, otherwise destined for the landfill!

Got an old, torn, funky wetsuit. Cowabunga dude! This too can be recycled! Green Guru has also begun re-manufacturing wetsuits into viable new products like laptop sleeves and tablet cases!

ONOFAKIBKPatagonia is one example of a large company that has set the mark for recycling gear with their Common Threads Initiative. Any old Patagonia product can be returned to the store for credit against a new product, and will be sent back to Patagonia to be repaired and recycled into new goods, or donated to local shelters and hostels. Check out their adds in the New York Times around the holidays of their newest jackets, with the subtitle “Don’t Buy This Jacket!” Pretty amazing idea from an amazing company.


So, when you’re considering throwing out your used outdoor gear, take a second and research how it may be able to be reused! Most plastic products are recyclable; fuel canisters can be sent to be recycled or refilled at the store, the list goes on! Be a part of the solution, not a part of the problem and do your part to recycle your goods. It’s your responsibility as a lover of the outdoors, and a great practice to incorporate into your daily routine!


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