If you choose prepackaged snacks, do the right thing when you have finished.

Everyone loves snack food. Whether you go straight for a bag of Cheetos or Skittles or prefer to snack on an organic banana or fresh from your garden tomato, you snack throughout your day. However, a fresh tomato from the garden doesn’t always come to mind when one thinks of snack food. Instead, prepackaged items are typically what pops into most people’s heads. For those that like the convenient items, I have one simple request for you: Recycle your snack food packaging, please. If you are a Walmart shopper you may have noticed something different during your most recent trip to the store. TerraCycle and Walmart have joined forces during Earth Month to promote recycling and upcycling. TerraCycle works through a series of brigades that collect waste items that would otherwise end up in a landfill. Instead of sitting there decomposing for decades or longer, the items are upcycled into a new consumer good.
TerraCycle's Chip Bag Brigade reuses snack packaging. Image courtesy of TerraCycle.
While TerraCycle has been doing this for some time, the company now has a unique display in every Walmart store in the nation to help bring the important message of recycling to everyday consumers. If you happen to walk into Walmart to grab a bag of Skittles, you are going to see some of TerraCycle’s upcycled products next to your bag of candy. When you see your bag of chips sitting next to a nifty kite made from old Skittles bags, TerraCycle and Walmart hope that you will think about the lifecycle of that bag. What happens when you are done with it? Does it go in the trash? Could it be put to better use? The answer to that last question is a resounding “Yes!” That bag can be put to better use. You can donate it to a chip bag brigade, raise money for your favorite charity, keep the bag out of the landfill and help turn it into that kite that the customer behind you may buy. The same can be said for your Skittles bags, plastic wrapping from the bag of diapers you may be buying for your wee one and the wrapper from your next bag of Oreos. Of course, the best snack food is that fresh from the garden tomato, but since processed foods are a way of life in this country, it is important that companies like TerraCycle figure out how to reduce waste from prepackaged snack foods.