Recycling in the workplace goes beyond a bin for unused paper and containers for aluminum cans and empty bottles of water. There are also pens, markers, tape dispensers and even cell phones that can be recycled. These items may not be the first things that come to mind when thinking of office recyclables, but they can definitely be put to good use at the end of their life. One company is working to take these types of products and upcycle them into new items: TerraCycle.
Items collected for the Writing Instrument Brigade
TerraCycle works in a series of brigades. These brigades are designed to collect items that aren’t traditionally recycled and then upcycle them into new consumer goods. In addition to keeping these products out of landfills, the brigades also serve as fundraising tools for schools, churches and nonprofit organizations. TerraCycle has dozens of different brigades, but three would be a good fit for businesses: the Scotch Tape Brigade, the Cell Phone Brigade and the Writing Instrument Brigade. Interested businesses simply collect the products and once a minimum amount has been reached, ship the product off to TerraCycle on TerraCycle’s dime. For example, participants in the Scotch Tape Brigade collect the cores from tape dispensers. These cores would otherwise end up in landfills, but now TerraCycle is collecting them for future product development use. Once a company collects 50 cores, they ship them to TerraCycle. TerraCycle then donates $0.02/core to the company’s charity of choice. The Scotch Tape Brigade has nearly 2,000 participating locations that have collected more than 1,200 cores totaling 22 pounds. The TerraCycle Cell Phone Brigade is a bit more profitable to nonprofit beneficiaries. For each cell phone collected, $0.25 is donated to your company’s charity of choice. There are nearly 1,000 collection teams that have donated more than 25 pounds of cell phones to TerraCycle, keeping these old phones out of landfills. One of TerraCycle’s newest brigades is the Writing Instrument Brigade. The company has partnered with PaperMate and Sharpie to keep these polymer-based plastics out of landfills. Although the program is relatively new, TerraCycle has reached its initial cap of 500 participating locations. However, TerraCycle is always expanding its brigades and will likely open this one up to new participants soon. While the Writing Instrument Brigade is one of the newer projects, more than 17,000 writing instruments have already been collected. This has diverted approximately 357 pounds of waste from area landfills and raised almost $400 for charitable organizations.