Turning Trash Into Treasures #2

A friend just pointed me in the direction of a company called TerraCycle.  They take products that are hard-to-recycle or non-recyclable and create new products out of them.  They call this process “upcycling” because you’re not taking the product and changing it’s structure (boiling or breaking down as you would in recycling), you’re making cool products that are better/more functional than the original (M&M wrappers turned into a purse/shopping bag or Skittles wrappers turned into a kite). 

It began as the brainchild of a 20-yearold  Princeton student in 2001 and since then has become one of the fastest growing green companies in the world.  Basically you send them trash (things you can’t recycle) while they cover the shipping costs and they make new products.  They also donate a small sum of money per unit of trash and donate it to a charity of your choice.  Here’s how it works:

It is free and seems to be very easy.  You join one of their pre-established “Brigades” that collects a certain type of trash and then you collect it and send it for free.  It would be cool to do it for our ink cartidges at work because #1 they are hard to recycle and #2 even though we have recycling bins around, I am not convinced that they are actually being recycled properly.   Here’s the Inkjet Brigade as an example of how it works:

All I would have to do is put out a box for ink cartridge recycling and once I acquire 20+ cartidges, I go online, print out a free shipping label, and bring it too a UPS to be sent out.  Next, 25cents for each cartridge is then donated to a charity of my choosing ($value donated depends on the brigade).  Then, my account online will get credited a certain amount of “points” that I can use later to buy TerraCycle products or I can choose to donate them to the charity.

TerraCycle has 21 million people signed up through their website from 14 countries and they have received over 2 billion units of trash since they were founded in 2001.

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