Recycling Stuff You Didn’t Think Could be Recycled
When it comes to recycling, I know I’m a little quirky. I suspect my family would go so far as to use the word “eccentric.” I really have trouble throwing something away if there’s any chance whatsoever that it could be recycled—or if someone, somewhere might be able to use it.
This explains, for example, why I save packing peanuts and every so often take a big bagful of them out to Tait Farm, which re-uses them in their mail-order business. Or why I once spent money to ship a box of empty pill bottles I had accumulated to a friend in Madison, Wisc.—one of the few places where they can be recycled.
So I was impressed to discover that Penn State’s Center for the Performing Arts has organized a drive to collect and recycle—of all things—plastic candy wrappers. Anyone attending a CPA show during the 2011–12 season is invited to bring in candy wrappers or multi-pack candy bags (trick-or-treat candy, anyone?) and drop them in one of the collection boxes in the lobby. The CPA staff will then ship the wrappers to an organization called TerraCycle, which will recycle them.
TerraCycle will also reward the CPA’s efforts by making a donation to a clean-water initiative in a developing country.
It turns out that the “Candy Wrapper Brigade” is just one of a number of TerraCycle “brigades,” in which just about any school or other organization can collect items to be recycled and send them in for credits toward a charitable donation.
TerraCycle specializes in stuff that’s otherwise hard to recycle: They have a Chip Bag Brigade, a Yogurt Container Brigade, a Cork Brigade, a Drink Pouch Brigade … you get the idea.
Meanwhile, I continue my endless quest for ways to get rid of stuff I no longer need but can’t bear to send to a landfill. I did a Google search the other day, for example, on “uses for old towels and sheets” and discovered that a local animal shelter would probably be glad to have my old linens for animal bedding. If Tait Farm ever gets tired of getting packing peanuts from me, I can always call the Peanut Hotline to find out who else can use them.
And my latest discovery is that it’s now possible to recycle the No. 5 plastic drink cups you get at McDonald’s, Subway, Sheetz, Five Guys, and similar joints. There’s a company called Preserve Products that’s collecting and recycling the cups through its Gimme Five initiative. You can drop off the cups at Whole Foods and other select locations, or mail them directly to the company.
Tina Hay, editor
Entry filed under: College of Arts and Architecture, University Park campus. Tags: Center for the Performing Arts, Gimme Five recycling, No. 5 plastic cups, Peanut Hotline, Preserve Products, recycling, recycling candy wrappers, Tait Farm, TerraCycle.