Photo credit: TerraCycle
When is recycling not a good idea? When is it causing more harm then other choices you could make? When you have another option such as green icon Method's refill packs, that are much lighter, and use less packaging than buying a whole new bottle of the same product. 80-90% less.
But they're not (yet) recyclable, meaning there's been only one choice when done with them: Throw them out. This I imagine has created a conflict in many of the minds of people who buy these refill packs, wanting to make a difference, but then following the clear good behavior with a supposed bad.
The irony is that refill users, when impacts are compared, are doing the greener thing. But what if Method could go even further, finding a place for their refill packs? They have, in the form of the new Method Refill Brigade. Now, those same refill packs destined for the dump will now be used by TerraCycle to make everything from bags to benches. It's already proven a success in the UK, where Kenco coffee's Eco Refill Brigade is nearly filled to capacity with people participating.
In an interesting evolution from how we've done collection Brigades before, you now earn points per piece sent back, redeemable as money for your school or favorite non profit as usual, or as charity gifts such as giving a needy family a baby chicken to raise and be a source of support to them, or giving a person a clean water supply for a week.
But hang on.
Outside of people who know about this Refill Brigade option, is the refill model a viable way to go, ecologically, or as a business? Will a substantial amount of people go the refill route, or just continue on, recycling big new bottles, blissfully ignorant of a greener option? Will the cost savings be enough to motivate those that are not green minded to go the refill route? Should refill options only be created if there are systems for collection in place, and education to make people aware of those systems?
Readers, what's your thoughts on this?
Read more about recycling:
Are You Being Lied to About Recycling?
Recycling is Bullshit; Make Nov. 15 Zero Waste Day, not America Recycles Day
It's Time for Deposits. On Everything