Monday, September 21, 2009

Got waste? Check out TerraCycle!

My friends at Celebrate Green! pointed me toward TerraCycle, a unique company that pays non-profits and schools to collect trash. In partnership with corporate sponsors, TerraCycle then develops and market items made from those waste streams. What a great idea!

For example, my older son's school started collecting drink pouches this year. I saw the notice from the school and frankly, I was skeptical. Sure, it was possible that someone might pay us to collect drink pouches as a charitable contribution. But what where they going to do with them?

Now, I know. TerraCycle is using used drink pouches to create and market their drink pouch backpacks, messenger bags, and pencil cases.

Capri Sun is currently the leading sponsor of the "Drink Pouch Brigade." You can see their logo featured prominently in these items. TerraCycle has dubbed this idea -- sponsoring the cleanup and reuse of your own wastestream -- the "Sponsored Waste Movement".

According to their website, over 2 billion (!) people have helped to collect trash and the company has donated over $100,000 to charity. TerraCycle now sells 83 products made from various waste streams, including desk clocks made from vinyl records, pencils made from old newspapers, and silver bows made from used cookie bag wrappers. According to an article in, TerraCycle has just started collecting tape dispensers. (Alas, they will be turned back into tape dispensers. I was hoping for another innovative product!)

So, the next time that you eat from a bag of cookies, drink from a juice bag, or eat a power bar, check with your neighborhood school to see if they are collecting these items. And, if they aren't, point them toward TerraCycle!

This dragon sculpture, seen in the Paris Jardin des Plantes near the Menagerie, is made of recycled cans & bags.
My thanks to austinevan for sharing this great photo through a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license via Flickr.

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