Swim Guide sampling bottles to find new life — as art

Not all facilities can easily recycle some kinds of plastic, and that’s how Pamlico-Tar Riverkeeper Jill Howell found a place to repurpose plastic containers used in Sound Rivers’ water sampling.

“We do — especially during the summer — a lot of bacteria sampling, and all the bottles are one-time use because they’re sealed, and they’re sterile,” Howell said. “We’re generating a lot of plastic waste, which is not what we want to be doing. This type of plastic can’t be recycled in a lot of local recycling facilities.”

Howell reached out to R.A.W. Plastics, a group of individuals with a common mission: to return the environment to its original, beautiful state and restore waterways — one piece of plastic at a time. The Greenville organization takes the types of plastics that won’t be recycled otherwise and turns them into works of art: bowls, earrings, keychains, coasters and more.

Containers used to take nearly 50 Swim Guide samples per week during the summer, plus additional ones used for water-quality investigations throughout the year, add up. And after being shredded and melted down, now they’ll add up to art.

Howell said it’s just another way to prevent plastic from ending up in landfills.

“This plastic won’t end up back in our rivers,” she said.

To learn more about R.A.W. Plastics and shop their recycled creations, visit rawplasticnc.com.