"TerraCycle collects difficult-to-recycle food packaging, such as Frito-Lay chip bags, Kraft Singles packaging from cheeseburgers, Scott paper towel and napkin wrapping and Solo plastic cups for upcycling and recycling," said Samantha Ortolano, Public Relations Intern for TerraCycle, Inc.
TerraCycle's purpose is to eliminate the idea of waste by creating national recycling systems for the items once listed as non-recyclable. The process starts by offering collection programs (many of them free) to collect waste and then convert the collected waste into a wide range of products and materials.
Founded in 2001 by Tom Szaky, TerraCycle began by producing organic fertilizer. Since then it has grown into one of the fastest-growing green companies in the world with more than 14 million people collecting waste in 11 countries.
They now sell upcycled or recycled products at major retailers ranging from Walmart, Whole Foods Market and more. They even sell products on their website at www.TerraCycleShop.com.
Once the "trash" arrives at TerraCycle, it is turned into products such as backpacks, speakers and pencil cases. Many of the plastic products, such as the eco-friendly expandable cooler, are made from old food and drink wrappers and can then be re-used summer after summer. Other plastics and wrappers are recycled into picture frames, floor tiles and even plastic lumber.
TerraCycle partners with brands such as Frito-Lay, Nabisco, Kraft Cheese, Solo and Scott to reduce the amount of waste being thrown away. Now, instead of filling up trashcans with empty food wrappers and plastic cups, people can reuse the packaging or send the waste to TerraCycle, where they can earn money for their favorite charity and keep things out of the local landfill at the same time.
One easy do-it-yourself project is a chip bowl, which can be made from a Frito-Lay chip bag. Another idea is to turn used Solo cups into herb planters for the porch or kitchen.
Anyone can send in their used wrappers and for every piece of packaging that TerraCycle receives, participants are awarded with two points, which can be put toward buying a specific charity gift or converted to money and donated to a charity of the participant's choice.
Area groups partnering with TerraCycle include Forest Hills Elementary, Walnut Hill, Caddo Heights schools and Creswell Public School. TerraCycle is looking for more participants.
Participation in a TerraCycle Brigade, or collection program, is free and all shipping costs are paid.
To find out how to join a Brigade or see more do-it-yourself-projects at www.terracycle.net.