TerraCycle is a winning combination of environmentalism and free enterprise. The company has succeeded in diverting one million non-recyclable packages from landfills. TerraCycle is a company with a mission to “Eliminate the Idea of Waste®” by creating sustainable collection systems and end of life solutions for non-recyclable packaging and products.
TerraCycle created a free nationwide collection program in Canada that enabless consumers to raise money for their schools and communities by collecting material like drink pouches, cookie wrappers, yogurt pots, sandwich bags and candy wrappers. For every piece of waste collected, they donate 2 cents to a school or charity of choice.
TerraCycle was founded in the US by Toronto native Tom Szaky. After winning countless business plan contests, Tom dropped out of Princeton to pursue his dream of founding the world’s most environmentally friendly company. Seven years later, TerraCycle’s eco-friendly products have received a myriad of social and environmental accolades and are sold at major retailers like The Home Depot, Wal*Mart and Whole Foods Markets.
TerraCycle’s business plan and products made from waste received a Zerofootprint Seal of Approval, won The Home Depot’s Environmental Stewardship Award twice and recently won the 2007 Social Venture Network Innovation Award. Kool Aid has also offered their support for TerraCycle’s Drink Pouch Brigades and encourages recycling and upcycling of drink pouches.
As indicated in a recent company press release, the Canadian recycling brigade has reached a major milestone. On June 3rd 2011, the company reported that they had succeeded in diverting one million drink pouches. The ubiquitous drink pouches cannot be recycled through traditional programs. In the process of collecting these waste materials, TerraCycle has contributed over $20,000 to schools and non-profits.
Over 2,700 schools, non-profits and community groups have joined together across Canada to help collect the one million pieces of waste. Students, teachers and community members from communities across Canada are working together to help TerraCycle give new life to waste.
“It gives the students a chance to participate and see results for their actions. We can collect waste and get paid for it,” says Sandra Ross, parent volunteer at William S. Patterson P.S. in Clandeboye, Manitoba.
The collected material will be repurposed into a variety of environmentally responsible products ranging from pencil cases and tote bags to storage containers and park benches. Thier eco-friendly consumer products should be in stores within the next 6 to 12 months.
To mark the milestone of one million pouches collected, TerraCycle held an assembly and unveiled a special recycled prize at Dixon Grove Public School, in Toronto. The school is one of the country’s top collectors and a shining example of environmental commitment.
Their non-recylcable waste program not only diverts packaging from landfills, it engages students and adults in a fun, hands-on activity to encourage them to be more concerned about resource conservation and recycling.
TerraCycle has an innovative business model that should cause entrepreneurs and established businesses to stand up and take notice.
For more information go to the TerraCycle site.
© 2011, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.
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