On the hunt for sustainable manufacturers & upcycled materials
I hope everyone is doing well despite the colder weather brewing! For this week’s newsletter, I wanted to share my journey fighting for a greener future, as it is very relevant to Kiwi’s Climber. I have been passionate about recycling for years, which has left me feeling conflicted about bringing additional plastic into the world when creating Kiwi’s Climbers. Did you know that 381 million tons of plastic is produced annually and that this amount is expected to rise to 500 million by 2050? Additionally, did you know that out of all this plastic, only 9% of it is recycled? This results in the remaining 91% of plastic to be dumped into our environment through burying or burning methods, of which low-income neighborhoods typically bear the brunt. (Environmental Protection Agency, 2018).
Despite these daunting facts, I’m determined to find sustainable ways to produce Kiwi’s Climbers. Through ongoing research, I was ecstatic to find a plastic extrusion manufacturer in the U.S. who was willing to re-grind their scraps from other products in order to make our climbers. However, re-grind degrades (since it has been used once before) must be mixed with virgin plastic.
Although I am thrilled we were able to find a U.S. based manufacturer that is willing to utilize post-production recycled plastic, this is only a partial solution to me. I am still on the hunt to find a greener manufacturing alternative. Fortunately, as the demand for recycled products increases, recycling technology is moving forward and gaining momentum.
It has been fascinating to learn about the various methods in which U.S. researchers and manufacturers are making plastic into a circular material. For instance, the Hefty Orange Bag Program involves consumers purchasing orange Hefty trash bags at a grocery store and filling their bags with hard-to-recycle plastics (plastic bags, films, yogurt tubs, cellophane wrappers, and jugs of juice and dairy products). Orange bags are dropped off at designated neighborhood sites and shipped to Nexus Fuels in Marietta, GA. These otherwise non-recyclable plastics are then processed into fuel to power machinery and utilized to create new plastic items.
In conclusion, there are pros and cons to the various methods of recycling plastic. I am committed to identifying a process and manufacturer that enables Kiwi’s Climbers to benefit the planet rather than burden it. If you have any interest in working with me on this project, please get in touch with me at email@example.com. Thank you all, and I’m excited to continue updating you on the environmental progress I make with Kiwi’s Climbers.