Plastic bottles, car dashboards and kitchen trash cans, it’s all just raw material for Uruguayan-born artist and green industrialist Juan Muzzi.

His Sao Paulo factory can take in over 17,000 tons of recycled plastic every year, using it to create tens of thousands of his patented Muzzicycles, plastic, and biodegradable bicycle frames. His process uses far less energy than is required for making traditional metal frames, according the company’s website. About 200 plastic bottles go into each frame.

Plastic makes up 10% of the composition of all solid waste on Earth, according to the World Bank. Muzzicycles, founded in 2012, is one of a growing number of green enterprises applying capital and creative thinking to the problem of figuring out what to do with all our plastic trash.

A man sits on top of a black bicycle, his hands on the handlebar, looking at the camera. He has brown skin and straight, dark brown hair that sticks up, and is wearing dark blue jeans, white sneakers and a short-sleeved white polo shirt with a dark green logo on the left side, at chest height. The bicycle is on asphalt that has a red tactile floor strip. Behind him is a garden with a variety of small trees.

Juan Carlos Seguro and his bike. The frame, wheels, pedals and saddle are made with recycled plastic (Valeria Zapata/Believe.Earth)

Juan Carlos Seguro, owner of Eco Muévete Seguro in Medellín, Colombia, is one of Muzzicycle’s local distribution partners. He recounted the origins of his company, which he founded in 2012, in an interview with Believe.Earth.

“I noticed that the waste generated by many textile companies was thrown into the garbage cans,” said Seguro. He arranged to have the discarded material delivered to him with no next step in mind. “When I saw my basement already full of plastic,” he said, “I wondered what I would do with that.”

He met with Muzzi and arranged to ship everything to Sao Paolo. There, it was mixed with fresh plastic and molded into frames, wheels, mudguards, pedals and seats. Seguro marketed his bikes as Re-ciclas, or “Re-cycles.”

The same black bicycle from the cover photo is facing the right side of the photo, and is resting against a small tree, with asphalt in front of it and a yard with various small trees in the back.

The dye is applied to the frame when the plastic is hot and liquid (Valeria Zapata/Believe.Earth)

Seguro has since partnered with a local recycling firm, Kaptar, which operates a network of bottle collecting machines that link to smartphone applications. Bottle collectors, by depositing bottles in the machine, earn points that can be spent on benefits such as subway tokens and movie passes.

Kaptar’s machines take in 2,000 polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles every day.

But, Seguro told Believe.Earth that he’s still open to obtaining raw materials from less high-tech sources.

“Once a man told me he wanted one of my bikes, but he did not have any money to buy it,” Seguro said. “I told him that if he brought in 1,000kg of plastic, he would get it at no cost.”

In a few days, according to Seguro, the man returned and started cycling his new Re-cicla through the streets of Medellin.

The frames can be used for traditional, pedal-powered bikes, or for electric ones, with engines from 250 watts to 1,500 watts, ranging about 50 km. The frames never rust, and the plastic frame reduces vibration while riding.

Seguro charges about $315 for pedal bikes and around $670 for electric ones.

The same black bicycle from the cover photo appears parked in a bike rack next to other bikes, facing diagonally to the left and the back of the photo. The bike rack is silver and is on top of a gray cement floor. To the front of the bicycles, in the left corner of the photo, is a garden with various small trees. In the back is a building with walls covered with brick-colored tiles, with tall, vertical rectangular glass windows.

Re-ciclas are provided, for transportation and leisure, at hotels and ecotourism sites in Colombia (Valeria Zapata/Believe.Earth)

Colombian firms are incorporating the recycled bikes into their social responsibility programs.

Bavaria, the country’s the largest brewery, bought 170 Re-Ciclas with frames made from the PET bottles used to package the company’s beer. The bicycles were given to low-income children who’d previously been forced to walk up to two hours to get to school in the village of El Agizal, near the city of Itagüí.

On the Caribbean island of San Andres, where many residents bike, but salt from sea accelerates the formation of rust, the local government has plans to create a public system for sharing the plastic bikes.