TerraCycle® & Schools: Free Programs Changing Our World

TerraCycle® & Schools: Free Programs Changing Our World.

Let’s talk about TerraCycle®, schools and free programs that are changing our world. I recently got involved with TerraCycle® and our local school, and the free programs that are changing our world. When my eldest first started elementary a few years back, she was sent home with a brown paper bag labeled “Super Recycling.” At first, I was taken aback by this strange thing.

Our school offering an extra recycling program outside of curbside norms? It listed all kinds of oddities that we would otherwise throw in the trash.

Taking a closer look, we read the fine print…

Snack bags, air care products (including their paperboard/plastic packaging and plugs), plastic cosmetic packaging (from mascara wands, eyeliner pencils to hairspray bottles and their triggers), oral care products (toothpaste tubes, brushes, dental floss dispensers), etc… The list was LONG. All of these things could go into this paper bag, then be returned to our school for recycling. I enthusiastically encouraged my daughter to participate, and thus we began our super recycling crusade.

In the long run, I already felt pulled into volunteering for the school’s PTA. It began as a side job. I was putting in a few hours here or there for the teachers or librarians. I landed myself in the parent-teacher work room around every other week. But then a parent recommended me for the board in a low key position. And before I knew it, I was rubbing elbows with the board chairs. In other words our Environment Chair, and my curiosity got the best of me. I began asking questions. And in order to ask more questions, volunteering my time with those brown paper bags.

The Nitty Gritty of Super Recycling Begins.

As expected I was heading down the rabbit hole. Becoming curiouser and curiouser. Asking questions – where does this stuff go? Some is just your basic e-Waste pickup. Other waste is sent to city of Fort Worth contacts with more curbside recycling options. But the rest… TerraCycle® of course!

In other words, TerraCycle® is our go-to for all of these fantastic “brigades.” How is this all affordable? Large companies work with or sponsor TerraCycle® to make shipping and recycling of brigade products possible. In the long run, there can only be so many brigade participants. This keeps it all financially feasible.

Simply put, a “Brigade” is a type of product sponsored for recycling.

Over time, the super recycling leaders that have come before have set up a network of contacts so they can share their brigade participation (TerraCycle® is well aware of this as I’ve learned from their customer service). Ultimately, this makes sure all collections stay out of the landfill. It sure feels great to continue our school’s cause and all the hard work that PTA members have done in the years before me, maintaining those connections. I also appreciate that TerraCycle® as a company is so supportive of this.

In other words, maintaining those connections are helping our little school continue to ship off hundreds of pounds of non-curbside recyclables.

Free programs & landfill diversion: changing our world.

Further down that rabbit hole I’ve found myself creating a small committee of PTA Environment volunteers to help sort those bags from time to time. This allows me to do the real nitty gritty. I’m all up in the cafeteria collections and bulk storage behind the school. And on the street, collecting kindly donated giant boxes from our local cycle shop. (Bike boxes are ideal for shipment of large quantities of these odds and ends).

What it takes to prep 45lbs of snack bags.

What approx 30lbs of snack bags looks like.
If we only had a vacuum sealer…

Above is a sneak peak of what’s in the works this week. In the last couple weeks we shipped off around 35lbs of cosmetics packaging. Hoping to send close to 20lbs of oral care plastics next month. And the cycle continues.

Halfway there.

I share the process as often as I can with the kiddos within the school. And if their little “super recycling” bin is missing from their classroom, they are quick to bug their teacher about where to put their “not trash.” I couldn’t be prouder.

Like the grapes before the wine – recruiting good feet to compress the bags into a 45lb shipment.

This shipment will be off by the weekend. And the school will be almost 50lbs lighter of THAT. With hopefully a few charitable dollars incurred.

Looking forward to seeing how TerraCycle® will continue to influence our schools, and how they eliminate the idea of waste® as they say.

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