I speak for many of our eco citizens and dedicated environmentalist when I say that it pains me to throw anything away, but unfortunately, there are just some things that just can’t be recycled. Chip bags, candy wrappers, tape dispensers and used pens all have to go into the trash… or normally would…
Thanks to the company TerraCycle, hard-to-recycle items like those listed above are not trashed, but are actually recycled, or even upcycled. TerraCycle partners with the companies that produce these items, and works with them to create an environmentally friendlier end of life- which means that for many of them, they are turned into something completely new-for example, pens and sharpies are turned into dry erase marker holders, and cookie wrappers are turned into backpacks. Awesome, right? Wait- it gets better.
As part TerraCycle’s push to get companies to take ownership of their products, most of the partner companies incentivize the collection of their waste by giving donations for each item collected and sent in. These donations are given to the charity of the collectors choice-Harvard has chosen LABBB (www.labbb.com), a long standing partner of Harvard Recycling, so the more we work together to reduce our waste stream, the more special needs students will benefit.
While some areas in FAS have already had single TerraCycle collection areas (many offices had pen collection areas, and the Science Center has had a chip bag and candy wrapper collection area for years), these spots have all been for single items. However, in spring of 2012, Harvard Law School worked with Harvard Recycling, LABBB and TerraCycle to consolidate the different types of TerraCycle collection areas into one, single stream collection system. The pilot has been successful, and is ready to expand to FAS! We’re starting out now with our Eco Citizens and the Science Center, with the goal of being able to expand it further in the near future.
Check out the list below to see what items can be collected, and email firstname.lastname@example.org to find a space nearest you, or to inquire about setting up a TerraCycle box in your office or FAS building.
- Oral care: Any brand toothpaste tubes, toothpaste caps, tooth brushes, floss containers.
- Personal care and beauty packaging: Any brand lipstick cases, mascara tubes, eye shadow cases, shampoo bottles, conditioner bottles, bronzer cases, foundation packaging, body wash containers, soap tubes, soap dispensers, lotion dispensers, shaving foam tubes (no cans), powder cases, lotion bottles, chap stick tubes, lotion tubes, face soap dispensers, face soap tubes, face lotion bottles, face lotion jars, eyeliner cases, eyeliner pencils, eyeshadow tubes, concealer tubes, concealer sticks, lip liner pencils, hand lotion tubes, hair gel tubes, hair paste jars.
- Energy bar wrappers: Any brand foil lined energy bar wrappers, foil lined granola bar wrappers, foil lined meal replacement bar wrappers, foil lined protein bar wrappers, foil lined diet bar wrappers. Clif SHOT wrappers, Clif Twisted Fruit Wrappers, Clif Roks Wrappers, Clif Bloks Wrappers, Clif Gels Wrappers.
- Elmer’s Glue products: Elmer's glue sticks, Elmer's glue bottles, and Elmer's glue tops.
- Tape products: Any brand plastic tape dispensers, plastic tape cores.
- Cheese packaging: Any brand string cheeses packages, individual singles wrappers, singles packages, shredded cheeses packages, grated cheese containers, creamed cheese packaging, cottage cheese tubs, all cheese wrappers.
- Drink pouches: Any Brand aluminum drink pouches, plastic drink pouches.
- Bear Naked packaging: Bear Naked granola bags, Bear Naked trail mix bags, Bear Naked Granola cookie boxes.
- Cookie Packaging: Any brand Cookie Wrappers, Cookie Bags, Individual Cookie Bags, Inner Plastic Trays.
- Chip Bags: Any brand chip bags, tortilla chip bags, pretzel bags, pita chip bags, bagel chip bags, soy crisp bags, salty snack bags.
- Writing Instruments: Any brand pens, pen caps, mechanical pencils, markers, marker caps, highlighters, highlighter caps, permanent markers, permanent markers caps.
- Cleaner Packaging: pumps, triggers, pouches, and flexible cleaner product packaging.