Saturday, September 21, 2013

Terracycle: Funding Your Favorite Non-Profit Organization With Garbage

Once I dreamt I was on a spaceship with people who looked human but were not human. We eventually landed on a planet that looked like earth but was not earth. Its trees and grasses were purple and blue rather than our many shades of green. They took me inside a house that looked similar to what we have here except that there was no waste. Everything, even the garbage, fed into something else that helped run the home. The place was a highly efficient feedback loop.




Around that time I found Terracycle. My son attends a school for children with learning differences. Like any school we are always trying to raise money to cover costs, so I signed us up for this upcycling program.

terracycle photo:  terr-1.jpg
It works like this: Terracycle takes items not typically recyclable, like chips bags and energy bar wrappers, and turns them into things that do not get thrown away, like picnic tables and park benches. Your organization gets paid one or two cents per item depending on shipment size. It really adds up. And, it teaches the children important lessons about environmental stewardship. Some parents tell me how the program has changed the way their children see garbage. They will not allow anything to be thrown away at home now that can become something else.

So basically, this pile of thousands of potato chip bags,



 and these stacks of a gazillion energy bar wrappers and Capri Sun pouches
 







will become stuff like this,





or this,


 

or this.









 And when the backpack wears out it can be sent to Terracycle to be turned into something else.



















There are many items that can be collected, but we choose to focus on those not accepted by local recycling banks:

Salty snack bags (ie. potato chips, pretzels, etc.)
Children's drink pouches (Capri Sun, Honest Kids, etc.)
Energy bar wrappers and cereal bar wrappers
Cheese packaging (any, including singles)
Pens, markers, and Sharpies
Candy bar wrappers
Diaper packaging and baby wipes packaging (soft)

Special thanks to Unity of East Louisville, St. Matthews Area Community Ministries, and my family  in Kentucky and Georgia for collecting items for us. If your Louisville, Kentucky based family or organization would like to save items for the school please contact me at moonbeams_and_ecodreams at yahoo dot com.

We have been collecting for a while now. By Christmas the school should receive a check for around three hundred dollars.

As I was packing boxes of Terracycle for shipment one day it hit me - this is like in my dream. A feedback loop without waste, where one thing feeds into another. Hmmh.  How about that?

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Resources:

Terracycle

Terracycle products


Terracycle In The News:

Terracycle Wins Green Innovator Award - Philly.com

Terracycle on Good Morning America and Oprah

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This post is linked with Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways.

Tags: Eco Friendly Louisville, Green Living, Terracycle, Upcycling


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