Terracycle and Sponsored Waste
When it comes right down to it, recycling is a shifting of responsibility from the producer who made a product to the consumers and their governments that use tax money to collect it and deal with it; rarely does it pay for itself. We didn't have a litter or recycling problem when the bottlers had to pay a deposit; that's why they founded Keep America Beautiful- to shift the burden from them to you. That's why we think that there should be producer responsibility, with a deposit on everything from coffee cups to cars.
We are not there yet, but Terracycle has developed a great first step. They pay schools, non-profits and community groups to collect packaging from participants Honest Tea, Stonyfield Farm and Clif Bar. They upcycle the drink pouches into tote bags and pencil cases, the yogurt containers into planters; Clif Bar wrappers are "fused and woven into a strong material, which will then be used to make backpacks, gym totes and other products."Participating locations will earn two cents for every pouch, six oz yogurt container or energy bar wrapper and five cents for 32 oz yogurt container or 20 oz bottles. Donations will be made to a charitable organization or school of the location's choice.
"TerraCycle has a unique opportunity to help larger companies to reduce their waste streams, while procuring zero cost materials to make eco-friendly products." Says TerraCycle Founder and CEO, Tom Szaky. "This idea, called 'Sponsored Waste', benefits any large company with a non-recyclable packaging and helps TerraCycle provide consumers with affordably priced, eco-friendly products."
So by taking Producer Responsibility for the packaging of their products, these companies create a fundraising activity for the organizations, build consumer goodwill, eliminate their products from the taxpayer-supported recycling stream, and make cool new products that create jobs. It is a win-win-win for everyone except for the companies who are too short-sighted to participate in such things.
My next Clif Bar will taste even better now. ::Terracycle