Recreational Recyclables


    Kids, while you were enjoying the outdoors this summer, we hope that you were on the lookout for recreational products made from recycled materials. If not, try it during your free time this fall! Here are just a few examples. 

    Please note:  All chemicals and experiments can entail an element of risk, and no experiments should be performed without proper adult supervision.

    (1) A major athletic shoe company is recycling rubber from the soles of defective shoes into an ingredient used in the surfaces of running tracks and basketball courts.
    (2) A company in Oregon is using recycled materials to make lightweight hiking shoes that are sold through mail order outlets. These shoes contain materials left over from making coffee filters, wetsuits and gaskets, as well as recycled tires, plastic milk jugs, ground-up shoe soles, and old magazines.
    (3) A nature walkway was made on a small wetlands area near a high school in Schoharie County, NY. This nature walk was built entirely of commercially available recycled pressed lumber, which is made from used grocery bags, stretch film, sawdust, and wooden pallets.
    (4) Did you know that some of the latest playground equipment is being made from assorted plastic waste? This waste is mixed with carbon black, then melted and pressed into a variety of shapes including even picnic tables. The easily pressed recycled material is made into playground equipment, and the rest is used as plastic groundcover chips instead of sand or wood chips.
    (5) Another major manufacturer has developed a fiber made completely from recycled plastic soft drink bottles (made of PET or polyethylene terephthalate). Fabrics made from this fiber are beginning to be used by clothing manufacturers. For example, one women's sweater contains the PET from 25 soda bottles!


    Kathleen Carrado Gregar, PhD, Argonne National Labs 
    [email protected]
    September 1994


    Reference:The Conservationist: NY's Environmental Magazine, 48(5&6), 1994, 62.