27 images of 'reincarnated' plastic bottles show why it's better to recycle.

Do you know how much plastic waste the U.S. generates each year?

33 million tons, according to the EPA, from a 2013 analysis.

If that's not sobering enough, over 90% of these plastics meet their final resting place in landfills, meaning they'll never be recycled.


However, I'm not here to depress you with statistics.

I'd like to introduce you to the born-again plastic bottles that are recycled.

The ones that are hiding in plain sight, as opposed to the ones that are out-of-sight, out-of mind at your local garbage dump.

The ones that found a higher calling thanks to your decision to throw them away in the blue or green bins, as opposed to the black ones.

The recycled plastic bottles that are just begging you to rediscover them in their newfound glory.

NOTE TO READER (especially you lovely folks on your mobile devices): It might take a few seconds for these images to load. I promise it will be worth the wait!

1. Cozy Patagonia fleece

Check out all their recycled plastic products here.


2. Winter jackets, too!


3. Check it out: Luxury bedsheets designed by will.i.am


4. Plastic bottle denim jeans by a company called Dirtball? Sign me up.

A+ business name, guys.


5. You can also root for your favorite NFL team in these plastic bottle football jerseys.

6. Do yoga (or just be comfy) in these plastic bottle yoga pants.

Namaste, plastic bottles. Namaste.


7. You could also look fly in these New Balance NewSky sneakers.


8. Plastic bottle UNDERWEAR, y'all


9. Designer handbags, backpacks, and luggage by Matt & Nat

Even the inside liner is made from plastic bottles!

10. Red (or green?) carpet fashion

But like, what plastic bottle wouldn't want to end up with Colin Firth and his wife, Livia?


11. Plastic bottles can also strut their stuff on the runway.

Work it, plastic bottles. Work. It. Out.


12. Pet beds!

GOOD BOY.


13. And pet toys, too!


14. And you've probably walked on a plastic bottle rug.

And, hey! These are affordable.


15. Plastic bottles can also get a second chance with these "B2P" pens by Pilot.

Next time you're ready to restock, consider these bad boys.


16. Rainy day? Try a plastic bottle umbrella.


17. You probably want to buy this awesome bat backpack.

For kids or adults? I'll let you decide. They also come in pink bunnies, purple owls, penguins with ties, and more.


18. Or this pink dump truck.

*adds to Christmas list*


19. Be fancy with a fancy plastic bottle chandelier!


20. Stare in awe at some ridiculously creative plastic bottle artwork.


21. And don't forget to check out this artwork ... made with plastic bottle "paint."

WHAT? HOW??


22. You can even make an entire HOUSE from plastic bottles.


23. A bus stop?! Yeah, a bus stop.

24. These people are riding solar-powered recycled-plastic-bottle BOATS.


25. Even the roads of the future are paved in plastic bottles!


26. No big deal, just a man-made plastic bottle island here.


27. Or, you know, 1.5 million bottles could get you AN ENTIRE FREAKING BUILDING.

Learn more about the EcoARK in Taipei, Taiwan, here.


See? It's an absolute crime to send plastic water bottles to the dump when there's so much potential awaiting them elsewhere. Not to mention each ton of recycled plastic saves over 16 barrels of oil since it requires less energy to produce than new plastic.

And remember: Recycling is only one part of the "reduce, reuse, recycle" mantra. Reducing (or even eliminating) your consumption of plastics, in addition to coming up with your own fancy DIY uses for milk jugs and water bottles is even better for the environment, if you're willing to make the lifestyle change.

Recycle on, friends!

True

If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.