President Bill Clinton got into the topic of trash at the 2010 Clinton Global Initiative recently. It is an important topic. We create tremendous amounts of waste these days, and much of it could be used in a constructive way, rather than polluting our planet.
While some companies are trying to be greener and minimize their waste, other companies have made waste the source of their business. Using “waste” as a key input to the products they create, these companies are as green as green gets.
TerraCycle is one such company.
As TerraCycle representative Stacey Cusack wrote in a recent email to me:
We use the trash we collect as a raw material – and even pay people to send it to us! Forget mining landfills as Clinton suggests, TerraCycle’s system diverts the waste before it even gets to the landfill, all while paying local schools and non-profits, who need extra funding now more than ever. Before these items were just drink pouches or cookie wrappers or yogurt cups: non-recyclable waste with no other end-of-life solution than a landfill or incinerator. At TerraCycle, they have value and become upcycled, eco-friendly backpacks and pencil cases and patio pavers and planters and fencing materials and more.
Great process, great and multiple benefits, great company.
TerraCycle’s Major Drink Milestone — Multiple Benefits
TerraCycle was writing to me because it had reached a major milestone and wanted to share it with the world. It recently collected its 50 millionth drink pouch and has now paid schools and non-profits $1 million.
That would be enough drink pouches to cover the Grand Canyon 9 times or cover 480 footbal fields, and together they weigh as much as 20 full school buses. Check out the variety of useful products TerraCycle creates and sells from this “waste” via the TerraCycle shop.
More companies like this would really turn the world around.
The schools apparently love it, and for more than just the financial reasons. This program facilitates important experiential and participatory environmental education. TerraCycle wrote:
With educational budgets at all-time lows, it’s not surprising that about 60% of the Drink Pouch Brigade teams are schools. While the extra funding is an incentive, many teachers would say the educational value of a Brigade is just as important. With traditional classroom programs like music and art being eliminated, crucial new ones that focus on conservation and sustainability seem to be far off. But, by participating in TerraCycle’s free Brigade programs, students are immediately more conscious of how their choices affect the environment.
Helping the environment.
Helping our economy.
TerraCycle is a true corporate and environmental leader. Happy to get to write on such positive green news from time to time.
Image Credit: screenshot of TerraCycle website