Harvard is now TerraCycling more than ever before!
More than half of U.S. product packaging –37 million tons – is discarded in landfills or burned rather than recycled, and packaging comprises nearly one-third of all U.S. landfill waste (US EPA). TerraCycle is an innovative waste reduction solution that encourages producer responsibility for their packaging, and recycles or upcycles packaging and other hard-to-recycle or previously non-recyclable items. TerraCycle partners with producers who sponsor specific “brigades” – like chip bags or writing instruments - whereby waste can be collected and re- or up-cycled. Further, TerraCycle incentivizes participation by donating money per unit of waste to nonprofit organizations.
Harvard has recently expanded single-brigade programs located at several individual sites on campus into a multi-brigade TerraCycle program being piloted at Harvard Law School. We hope to scale the program to become University-wide in the near future. Harvard community members can now drop off many kinds of waste in bins located throughout the University. Collection of TerraCycle items in managed through a partnership between the Office for Sustainability and Harvard Recycling and assisted by the LABBB program (http://www.labbb.com/). Harvard has selected to donate all TerraCycle funds to LABBB.
While the total volume of waste collected through Harvard’s TerraCycle program is small compared to the total amount we generate, recycle, and compost, TerraCycle participates in a new model of voluntary producer responsibility for their environmental impacts. This producer responsibility lies in contrast to the traditional model in which costs for landfilling packaging after a product is consumed are externalized by product manufacturers – and internalized by taxpayers. Rob Gogan, Harvard’s Recycling & Waste Manager, weighs in on why TerraCycle matters:
“What I like most about this program is that it involves the producers and TerraCycle has managed to get them to take on some of the responsibility for the next phase in the life of these materials and not pass the cost of disposal/recycling on to consumers.”
Get involved today by collecting the waste below and bringing it to the Law School’s Wasserstein Caspersen Clinical building. Find bins on the first floor of the Caspersen Student Center under the ramp leading up to the café in and at the ITS helpdesk in the basement.
Harvard’s Brigades (we hope to expand further as TerraCycle’s wait list for other brigades opens up – check the Law School Green Team site frequently for an up-to-date list of all brigades):
- Oral care: Any brand toothpaste tubes, toothpaste caps, tooth brushes, floss containers.
- Personal care and beauty packaging: Any brand lipstick cases, mascara tubes, eye shadow cases, shampoo bottles, conditioner bottles, bronzer cases, foundation packaging, body wash containers, soap tubes, soap dispensers, lotion dispensers, shaving foam tubes (no cans), powder cases, lotion bottles, chap stick tubes, lotion tubes, face soap dispensers, face soap tubes, face lotion bottles, face lotion jars, eyeliner cases, eyeliner pencils, eyeshadow tubes, concealer tubes, concealer sticks, lip liner pencils, hand lotion tubes, hair gel tubes, hair paste jars.
- Energy bar wrappers: Any brand foil lined energy bar wrappers, foil lined granola bar wrappers, foil lined meal replacement bar wrappers, foil lined protein bar wrappers, foil lined diet bar wrappers. Clif SHOT wrappers, Clif Twisted Fruit Wrappers, Clif Roks Wrappers, Clif Bloks Wrappers, Clif Gels Wrappers.
- Elmer’s Glue products: Elmer's glue sticks, Elmer's glue bottles, and Elmer's glue tops.
- Tape products: Any brand plastic tape dispensers, plastic tape cores.
- Cheese packaging: Any brand string cheeses packages, individual singles wrappers, singles packages, shredded cheeses packages, grated cheese containers, creamed cheese packaging, cottage cheese tubs, all cheese wrappers.
- Drink pouches: Any Brand aluminum drink pouches, plastic drink pouches.
- Bear Naked packaging: Bear Naked granola bags, Bear Naked trail mix bags, Bear Naked Granola cookie boxes.
- Cookie Packaging: Any brand Cookie Wrappers, Cookie Bags, Individual Cookie Bags, Inner Plastic Trays.
- Chip Bags: Any brand chip bags, tortilla chip bags, pretzel bags, pita chip bags, bagel chip bags, soy crisp bags, salty snack bags.
- Writing Instruments: Any brand pens, pen caps, mechanical pencils, markers, marker caps, highlighters, highlighter caps, permanent markers, permanent markers caps.
- Cleaner Packaging: pumps, triggers, pouches, and flexible cleaner product packaging.
Want a TerraCycle bin for your office? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more, or with any questions.