Recycling Innovations From Around the World

Unfortunately, much of the waste related news that we hear these days tends to be negative in nature, which is why, this month, the Brown Recycling team wanted to bring you something a little more positive: recycling innovations from across the world! From shoes made of chewing gum to edible packaging, we have a lot of exciting stuff to show you, so let’s dive in!

Two polystyrene cups on a beach

Roads made of plastic

This might seem crazy to us, but plastic roads aren’t just a pipe dream – they’re already here. Springfield Properties, a Scotland-based company, became the UK’s first housebuilder to use waste plastic to build a road on one of their housing developments. The road itself is made up of both plastic and asphalt and, while looking like a traditional road, actually benefits from being a lot more durable.

Mushrooms that eat plastic

While some scientists have been busy working out how we can reuse plastic, others have been working out how to cultivate things that will eat it. Yes, there’s a plastic-eating fungus out there. Known as “decomposers”, this group of fungi prey on organic matter by breaking it down using microscopic webs. As it turns out, a handful of these decomposers can actually survive by feeding on plastic alone.

Can it be scaled up to a point where this phenomenon can actually be harnessed in a meaningful way? It’s not clear yet, but it’s exciting nonetheless!

Shoes made of chewing gum

Chewing gum is the bane of all city centres, and Amsterdam is no exception. In fact, all across the Netherlands, around 1.5 million kilograms of chewing gum ends up stuck to the streets each year – the second most littered item after cigarette ends.

Luckily, Amsterdam-based businesses have decided to help tackle this problem by launching Gumshoe. Yep, that’s right, the sole of each Gumshoe is made from around 1.5 kilos of recycled chewing gum found on Amsterdam streets. The compound material for the sole is called Gum-tec – an innovation from recycling company Gumdrop.

Edible packaging

Have you ever been so hungry that you wanted to just eat the box that your sandwich came in? Well, soon you might just be able to. An agricultural research team from the US has been developing a packaging material that’s made almost entirely from milk proteins. Apparently, as well as being edible, it also preserves food far better than traditional plastic.

The one obvious drawback, of course, is that this process still involves cows, so the whether or not this solution is sustainable isn’t quite clear yet.

It’s also important to note that the key benefit of this type of packaging is its biodegradability – you wouldn’t be forced to eat it!

Plastic that you can wear

It’s no secret that the fashion industry is one of the biggest contributors towards the climate crisis, which is why we need more companies like Recover Brands – an eco-focused clothing manufacturer that creates 100% recycled t-shirts out of old water bottles and cotton. Since its inception in 2010, the company has diverted nearly 8 million plastic bottles from landfill – that’s good going if you ask us!



Brown Recycling is Stoke-on-Trent’s favourite recycling company. We offer skip hire and commercial waste management solutions to homes and businesses throughout the region, so if you’re interested in our services, why not give us a call? We’d love to hear from you.


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