Eco-friendly idea: Upcycling

Until the day comes that all products are packaged in affordable, durable, biodegradable or recyclable packaging, all we can do is make the best of things. TerraCycle has turned this idea into a very profitable business. Co-founders Tom Szaky and Jon Beyer take packages and materials that are challenging to recycle (such as newsprint, plastic bags, juice pouches and chip bags) and transform them into affordable, high-quality goods, including tote bags, kites, umbrellas and even office supplies like pens and pencils. The upcycling process requires far less energy than recycling and yields much higher amounts of usable material, according to Terracyle’s Albe Zakes.

You can get involved by signing up for free. They will pay you to collect plastic bags, wrappers and packages and send them to TerraCycle using their free shipping bags.

In addition to partnering with Frito-Lay and Mars, Terracycle is just signed deals to develop programs that upcycle packaging from Kimberly Clark’s Huggies and Scott brands and re-purpose material from Aveeno.

While not the solution to the garbage problem, it just goes to show you are only limited by your creativity.

Related links: Aveeno launches recycling partnershp with Terracycle

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