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(article, Ashley Griffin Gartland)
Kids are particularly adept at repurposing ordinary household objects into art: paper lunch bags into puppets, milk cartons into derby boats, shoe boxes into dioramas. As adults, we tend to toss the containers that once held our favorite foods straight into the recycling. But, as the saying sort of goes, there's gold in them there containers. In 2005, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, containers and packaging of all kinds made up the largest amount — 77 million tons — of generated waste in the country. Not all of that packaging heads straight to the landfill; food containers are frequently recycled into paper products, while plastic bottles often return as fleece clothing. Countertops made, in part, from recycled glass bottles have been available now for several years. And as Mark Douglas has written on Culinate, even used tea bags can become art. [%image feed-image float=left caption="The Makayla shoe from Teva."] So what's the next generation of creative repurposing? Well, shoe company Teva has begun producing shoes from waste products. The company's new Curbside collection takes items usually delegated to sidewalk recycling bins and turns them into footwear; the lining of the women's Makayla shoe, for example, is crafted from recycled soda bottles. Don't need new shoes? Australian jeweler Mark Vaarwerks makes bracelets from plastic beverage bottles and brooches from plastic bags and bottles. And the goal of British company Remarkable is to recycle U.K. waste into such products as pencils (made from recycled plastic cups) and notebooks (made from old juice cartons). The whimsical products announce their origins; pencil cases, for example, bear the words "I used to be a car tyre." Alas, so far Remarkable only ships its products within the U.K.