Wednesday, November 24, 2010


We all know that we shouldn't be consuming so many snack products and disposable items, but sometimes the convenience is hard to resist. If you must consume chips and cookies or use plastic baggies, now there is a way to recycle the packaging.

TerraCycle (original sellers of worm poo fertilizer) started a program to 'upcycle' non-recyclable packaging.

You can sign up to join a trash collecting 'brigade' for materials like old pens or certain brand packaging, and TerraCycle sends you a postage paid box to send the trash in to be processed. Manufacturers sponsor the program by donating a few cents per item to a charity. The trash is then made into interesting products and sold at major retailers at an affordable price.

It's a great idea for fundraising and keeps more trash out of landfills. Some of the products seem a little iffy to me, like making notebooks and backpacks that are emblazoned with snack food packaging, but other programs are really great. For example, schools can collect used ziplock bags and raise money, and the bags are turned into products like cutting boards.

Seems like a win-win situation. Manufacturers take some responsibility for their packaging, less of it ends up in landfills, non-profits can raise money, and kids can learn about waste streams and recycling.