How Milk Jugs Become Park Benches

Of all the problems with pollution and climate change concerns, plastic waste is one of the biggest issues. Around 35.7 million tons of plastic products are generated each year in the U.S., but only a small percentage of those products actually get recycled.  Milk jugs are one of those products that can easily be recycled and turned into plastic recycled benches.

Milk jugs are widely used products made from a type of plastic called HDPE. And while HDPE is considered one of the safer and more environmentally-friendly plastics, only about 29.3% of all products made from HDPE get recycled. The rest end up in landfills or dumped in natural environments, contributing to pollution. Over time, the plastic can even break down into tiny particles that end up in the ground or water, which is extremely hazardous to the health of animals and humans who unintentionally ingest them.

Luckily, as more and more individuals become aware of the damaging effects of plastic waste, we are starting to see some improvements in waste reduction with more sustainable practices. At Polly Products, we know how important it is to set a good example and do our part to protect the planet. That’s why we make all of our products, such as our outdoor benches, using recycled HDPE plastic from things like milk jugs.

How Benches Are Made Using Recycled Plastic

Our benches are made of 100% recycled plastic that comes from products, like milk jugs. The process starts by collecting the plastic containers from community recycling programs across the state of Michigan.  They are flattened and compressed into huge bales, which are sent to ‘toll grinders’.  There, they are then shredded down into small flakes which get washed and dried.

After the milk jugs are processed into small flakes, they are melted down and combined with UV inhibitors and colorants at our facility with the help of several large machines and our dedicated employees. The melted mixture is then injected into molds. The resulting parts are then refined and packaged with stainless steel hardware to become the benches, tables, message centers and other outdoor products we’ve become famous for.

Aside from the colorants, UV inhibitors, and molding agents added to the mix, the finished product is made from 100% recycled plastic material—we do not use fillers or other materials. We even reuse the plastic scraps generated when the molded pieces are sawed down and refined. Essentially, every bit of plastic that comes into the facility leaves in a product.

Each bench is made using up to 2,024 milk jugs, depending on its size and specifications. And we use about 2 million pounds of recycled plastic annually. We even recycle and reuse the boxes and pallets that contain the plastic flakes during their transportation.

What Are the Benefits of Recycled Plastic Benches?

Aside from being better for the environment and reducing the amount of plastic waste that gets produced and dumped every year, recycled plastic benches have numerous benefits.

  • Recycled plastic benches are highly durable—more so than traditional wooden benches. They do not rot or decay over time. They will last for decades, even generations.
  • Recycled plastic benches are easy to keep clean. When metal or wood products get dirty or are vandalized, they are much harder to clean. However, with recycled plastic benches, other substances do not easily stain or bond to the material, meaning they can easily be cleaned with a little soap and water.
  • Recycled plastic benches are safe and sanitary. They are non-toxic and don’t leach anything so they are safe for food service and around pets and water environments.  Plus, because they are non-porous, germs have nowhere to hide and they can be easily sanitized with the product of your choice.
  • Recycled plastic benches don’t need to be repainted. Other outdoor furniture often requires yearly or seasonal maintenance as a result of the paint chipping and fading over time. Recycled plastic benches do not chip and scratches aren’t as noticeable, however, as the colorant is mixed in with the plastic and is UV protected.
  • Recycled plastic benches save money. While these products may cost more upfront, they save you money over time because they are highly durable and last for years. In fact, we warranty them for a full 20 years! So while they cost a bit more than conventional wooden or metal park benches, they actually save you money in materials and labor because they’ll never need refinishing.  And you’ll replace the conventional bench 2 to 3 times while the recycled plastic bench is still in service and looking good.

The Polly Products Difference

At Polly Products, we maintain the highest standards for ecological conservation in both our business practices and our product development. While the EPA only requires manufacturers to utilize as little as 25% aluminum or steel recycled content to state their products are recycled, our products are made of 100% recycled plastic. Furthermore, our products use zero formaldehyde, which can be found in some other recycled plastic products, and we offer a 20-year warranty that beats most competitors.  Our warranty always holds up because we make every part ourselves.

Located in rural Michigan, Polly Products comprises a team that shares humble values and believes in delivering quality products. We proudly supply environmentally responsible outdoor furniture, 100% made and assembled in the USA. Check out our website to browse our selection of recycled plastic outdoor benches and more.

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