Monday, January 5, 2009

TerraCycling: Recycling in the Classroom

TerraCycle collects trash that would otherwise find its way to a landfill and, instead, uses those items to create new products. By mailing recyclables to the company (preferably in used containers), schools can earn approximately $0.02 per item. Some of the items they collect include:
  • Drink Pouches (e.g., Capri Sun)
  • Cookie Wrappers (e.g., Oreo)
  • Corks
  • Yogurt Containers (i.e., Stonyfield Farms)
  • Plastic Bottles (e.g., Coke)
  • Chip Containers (e.g., Wheat Thins)
This sounds like a great way for schools to teach eco-friendly concepts while making money.

Schools sign-up to participate and are sent shipping labels and sometimes boxes in which they can mail the items to TerraCycle.


Andrea said...

I am very interested in implementing this at my daughter's school but I can't get passed the fact that lunch/food products are not allowed to stay around on campus anywhere for collection purposes. Please tell me how you collect and keep them until they are mailed. Thank you. Andrea Canady

Andrea said...

I am interested in implementing this at my daughter's school. I was under the impession food/drink products are allowed to be around for a short amount of time. How do you go about collecting and keeping these pouches at the school until you mail them in?

Christy G. Keeler, Ph.D. said...

I've seen this done as a class project. One class, the school's "EPA," was in charge of collecting and processing recyclable items. In their case, they had students bring in cleaned, crushed cans for which the students earned money from the school's currency (token system). They just maintained the items they received on campus in bags (since they were already clean). They also collected paper and had a large recycling paper dumpster placed on their campus.

I'm thinking that the juice pouches wouldn't take much space. I would think that if they were flattened, they could probably fit in something rather small. If the problem is bugs, what about placing the items in a diaper pail—the kind that allows you to twist the bags, sealing the contents inside.