Sunday, May 25, 2008

Terracycle recycles wrappers!

In the latest edition of Sierra Magazine I just discovered a (transitional, in my opinion) solution to all these non-biodegradable candy wrappers. A new company called Terracycle has figured out a way to collect and reuse plastic bottles, juice wrappers and candy wrappers, working with the companies that package their products in them.
For example, here is how you can help recycle those Clif's Bar wrappers into a purse, as in the illustration from their website:
TerraCycle & Clif Bar Energy Bar Wrapper Brigade, Sponsored by Clif Bar™
Every year millions of non-recyclable energy bar wrappers end up in our landfills. TerraCycle and Clif Bar are working together to change that. As an eco-friendly innovator, TerraCycle is going to convert the used wrappers into unique accessories and other upcycled products.

Once you have signed up for the Wrapper Brigade, TerraCycle will mail out 4 prepaid collection bags to your address. Once a collection bag is filled with 200 wrappers please seal and drop off the filled bag at a UPS drop off location near you.

The Wrapper Brigade program will allow almost any individual and organization to save energy bar wrappers from taking up space in our nations landfills. Clif Bar will donate $.02 per energy bar wrapper you collect to the charity of your choice. If you don't have a charity currently in mind, you may choose from a list of existing charities! There are no signup fees whatsoever. To see if this program is right for you, click here for some FAQs.
However, I don't think this solves the candy wrapper problem entirely, and Clif's Bars shouldn't think it does.
  • You have to have a market for these rather strange-looking products.
  • The quota for collecting Clif's Bars wrappers for this month is already filled, so the next bunch will go back to landfills.
  • This is a great marketing ploy for Clif's Bars - get school classes to collect Clif's Bars wrappers, for example, but the kids have to buy the bars first to get the wrappers!
  • There is a tiny mention of this on the Clif Bar site, but no link, so people don't know how to contact Terracycle - or buy the purse.
But nevertheless, this is a brilliant way to do something with a problem that is very serious. Conceivably other candy companies (like Hershey's) could design a special wrapper product in conjunction with TerraCycle that they sell through their own website.

Congratulations Terracycle. May you be very successful in getting packaging out of nature and landfills!

3 comments:

bonbayel said...

In the "Green Smart" section USA Today there is a section on recycling things, including Stonyfield Farm yoghurt cups. Go to terracycle.net/brigades for more information.

I guess this is really new for Stonyfield Farms, as it's not mentioned on their website. But they have another recycling opportunity there instead, with a company called Recycline.

Anonymous said...

The idea of joining terracycle seems like a great idea - get your school to collect wrappers and help the environment; except, most of the "brigades" are already full. Terracycle advertises their range of products that are made with the recycled wrappers and encourages purchases. There must be another company that can help our school to recycle instead of encouraging more consumerism!

bonbayel said...

I was just as frustrated when I tried to get my local store (where I bought Terracycle products) involved in taking back yoghurt cups and the like, but it was all filled up.
Of course, it's a 2-way deal. The Terracycle products have to be bought so that they can expand with room to recycle more yoghurt cups!
Now if they could work out some system that school used terracycle plates and cups (and reused them, of course) then they could recycle their yoghurt cups.
Of course, if you're reusing things, rather than just disposing them, the market for those products is smaller...