The U.S. National Parks system deals with the same sort of litter issues as most public parks. On a regular basis, they collect trash left behind by visitors, which includes a considerable number of plastic bottles. Treehugger reports that the parks have partnered with clothing company The North Face in an attempt to put all this plastic waste to use.
The North Face announced the launch of their new line called Bottle Source, composed of T-shirts and tote bags made in part from recycled plastic bottles collected at Yosemite, Grand Teton, and the Great Smoky Mountains. They've already collected 160,000 pounds of plastic, and their director of sustainability, James Rogers, has declared Bottle Source "the next step in our materials innovation."
Bottle Source is actually only made of 40 percent recycled polyester. The remaining 60 percent is cotton, a cloth that demands an enormous amount of water to produce, plus various pesticides to grow. But The North Face is working on their system for transforming plastic into fabric. The recycled bottles are ground down, melted, and then spun into a thread that can be melded with the cotton, as they explain in this short animation:
A bonus feature to the line is that for every product they make, The North Face is donating one dollar to the National Park Foundation in support of recycling and reuse programs in the parks.
The shirts and totes on sale feature The North Face's logo, and references to John Muir, a conservationist who is known at the "Father of the National Parks." There are also floral prints and a shirt that says, "Never stop exploring." The best way to assure that is possible is by preserving places like the National Parks. No matter how many people visit, they offer endless wonders. Now, go buy a reusable bottle.