TerraWhat? TerraCycle

Nowadays, there are so many different ways that people all around the world are helping to clean up the environment. The top ten things you can do to help are:

10. Replace your single-paned windows with double-pane windows.
9. Use a reel or electric lawn mower.
8. Go “mostly organic” in your lawn and garden.
7. Plant trees in your yard and community.
6. Use drip irrigation systems in your garden.
5. Use compost instead of buying chemically enhanced soil.
4. Use a low-flow showerhead.
3. Change as many bulbs in your house to compact fluorescent bulbs, or LED bulbs.
2. Lower your home thermostats.
1. Prevent energy leaks at home.

Handbags made from recycled candy wrappers. Image from Creative Commons.

By doing these simple tasks we can all make a difference in helping Mother Earth get back on her feet. Now I know that being a student can be hard enough to handle, and most students also have a job, which can make things even harder. Therefore, the Environmental Club is coming up with a way to make helping the Earth easier without straining student’s schedules.

TerraCycle is a company founded in 2001 that creates national recycling systems for previously non-recyclable or hard-to-recycle waste. After items have been collected, the waste is sent in and converted into a wide range of products and materials. By using a combination of upcycling and recycling, their goal is to eliminate waste by creating collection and solution systems for anything that is sent to a landfill. Tom Szaky, founder of TerraCycle, started out by making organic fertilizer, and his company has now grown into one of the fastest-growing companies in the world.

Upcycling can be defined as using every aspect of waste as something of value. An example of this would be when we upcycle a chip bag into a change purse or handbag. This is possible because it is already in the shape of a bag and it is plastic. Therefore, we can turn it into a handbag without destroying any part of it.

Recycling is defined as to alter or adapt for new use without changing the essential form or nature of the product. An example of recycling would be if we were to take a chip bag and melt it down in order to make a different plastic product.

The final goal that the Environmental Club has is simply this: students help collect plastic bottles, candy wrappers, chip bags, bottle caps, drink pouches and any other products that you can think of, and drop off these materials in a box set up in front of the Bonnie (date TBA). They will send the materials in and TerraCycle will make other products like a Skittles Eco Kite, M&Ms wrapper lock key journal or a Capri Sun Rectangular Lunch box out of the materials.

All in all, the students of Radford University need to come together to start making our environment and Earth a better place to live.

For more information on this organization, please visit www.terracycle.com.