(BPT) - You take steps to lighten your environmental footprint, and you encourage your friends and family to do the same. Fortunately, it’s getting easier to recycle more plastics than ever and give them a second chance to become useful new products. Throwing away recyclable plastics is a huge waste.

Here are five ways your recycled plastics can get a second chance and live again:

Recycled bottle caps can serve your next meal

Most recyclers now want your plastic bottle caps along with your bottles. Recycled polypropylene plastic can come back to you as long-lasting serving bowls, plates, cups, and cutlery – plus snazzy food storage and kitchen tools. So screw the cap back on the plastic bottle and toss it in the recycling bin.

Recycled plastics can furnish your home

From your kitchen to your bathroom to your outdoor space, stylish furniture and decor made with recycled plastics can help you decorate your home. One example: colorful patio furniture made from recycled milk jugs can help the environment and beautify your home at the same time.

Recycled plastics can help build schools

Lockers, playground equipment, and picnic tables can be made with durable recycled plastics. One manufacturer estimates each locker it makes diverts 500 milk jugs from landfills. So drink up and then recycle your plastics.

Plastic bottles can become clothing

Your next favorite shirt might come from the plastic bottles that you’re drinking from today! To create a new shirt, plastic bottles are cleaned, shredded, heated, and then stretched into fine threads that are woven into soft, durable fabrics used by many designers and manufacturers around the world.

Recycled plastic bags and wraps can become your backyard deck

Build your patio deck with low-maintenance, durable decking made with plastics recycled from grocery bags, dry cleaning bags, plastic wraps and other lightweight polyethylene film (but remember to recycle your flexible plastics in the recycling bin at the front of your grocery store — not in your curbside bin). One major manufacturer states that an average 500-square-foot deck made with their plastic composite decking contains 140,000 recycled plastic bags!"

To learn more about plastics recycling, visit plasticsmakeitpossible.com. To find out what’s collected for recycling in your area, visit www.Iwanttoberecycled.org.