Washing trash for TerraCycle

My husband looked over at me the other day and said, “Two years ago if you’d told me I’d be washing trash, I would have called you crazy.”

Ah, but look at the crazies now.

I discovered TerraCycle while writing this blog. When I first started posting over a year ago, I complained about how frustrating it was finding food without the packaging. An intern at TerraCycle wrote back saying he might have the answer to our question. And that we didn’t even have to wash the trash, just send it in.

Well, not quite. I’d still rather throw out zero waste than recycle it. But if I hit a weak moment and break down and buy the darn M&M’s (oh no! NOT the sugar!) or a bag of chips, I can at least know it’s being up-cycled and not completely wasted. I watched a video on what TerraCycle does with the products we send them and must say, it was impressive that someone took the time not only to think this up, but actually do something about it. And of course, it was a kid who started it. A 19-year-old kid with an idea. Our future is not lost!

I do find it frustrating that maybe the company isn’t big enough to receive all the recycling they wish. If I wanted to send in my items without paying the shipping myself or receive any points to reward myself for my time and effort, I had to be placed on a waiting list. I waited over a year and finally gave up, sending in almost two year’s worth of candy and chip bags (which really wasn’t that much as we’re only two people and not a huge company) to my niece’s school where they collect both chip bags and candy wrappers for TerraCycle. Her science teacher was thrilled.

So, I suppose there is good and bad in everything. Hurry up and wait.

Hey, at least someone is DOING something and not just talking. And I can give in now to a bag of sugar-filled, evil M&M’s every once in a while—without the guilt. Because life is short, damn it. And I really like M&M’s. I shouldn’t have to give up everything!

I bet a kid you knows goes to a school who might just be interested in TerraCycle, if they aren’t doing it already. Just an idea to pass on. To a teacher. A friend. A neighborhood kid…

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4 responses to “Washing trash for TerraCycle

  1. I hope you’ll excuse me if this is too discouraging. But that sugar is genetically modified, and in my view anyway, that’s as big a problem for our planet as trash. Bake some cookies and use an organic sweeter like sucanat or maple syrup and tell Monsanto to go to H E double hockey sticks.

  2. Curious…does is have to be full box of just one item (like M&M bags)? Or can it be a mix? I couldn’t determine by the website.

    My kids’ school used to do Capri Suns, but the volunteer that handled it said it was “too big a hassle.” I should contact her directly and get more direct feedback I guess, rather than hearing it 2nd hand.

    There are several things we have (that we try to avoid, but who can avoid M&Ms?) that cannot be recycled. This would be a great solution, and I’d even pay for the shipping! Send me an email or reply to this comment, if you please, Jennifer.

  3. @ Shannon—From what I got off the website, they want everything separate—-just chip bags, or just corks, etc., which makes it a bit difficult for a family who has a little bit of everything. I’m sure it wouldn’t be too expensive to send it off yourself, but I’m just thinking if you plugged in TerraCycle to google along with your local area, you might be able to get rid of a lot of it before sending it off. In Norfolk, VA there was a little green store (that went out of business shortly after we left) at the farmer’s market who took almost everything for TerraCycle—the yogurt cups, the granola bar wrappers, etc. So, something like that might really help out and make your package lighter?
    P.S. I emailed you too!

    @Learning and yearning—you’re right of course. If I refused them, I wouldn’t have to worry about that packaging in the first place. I’m working on it, I promise. But baking some homemade cookies and telling Monsanto to stick it sounds like a fabulous idea! 🙂

  4. Pingback: New appreciation for moms | Attempting zero waste lifestyle in a military household

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