TerraCycle is holding its second “Box that Rocks” contest, in which participating schools can earn extra money and prizes for the most creative collection box. Shown here is the 2011 winner.
When the glue sticks lose their sticky, the markers dry up and the tape is tapped out, we usually throw them out. In the course of the school year, that can add up to a lot of classroom waste. But what if those small, leftover parts could find a new life outside of the landfill?
TerraCycle has the answer: upcycling, or converting waste products that would not normally be recycled into useful items.
The Trenton, N.J.-based company has long teamed up with area school and civic groups to collect landfill-bound trash like juice pouches and candy wrappers and turn them into useful products, including back-to-school gear like totes, pencil cases and lunch bags.
The list of participating Capital District schools continues to grow and includes Shaker Road Elementary, Eagle Point Elementary, Bethlehem Central Middle School, Lynwood Elementary in Guilderland, North Colonie Central Schools, Bradt Primary School in Schenectady and Stevens Elementary in Ballston Lake.
The company relies on participants to help spread the upcycling message.
“(Schools find out by) reading about us … and word of mouth,” said PR Director Lauren Taylor,
Over the years, TerraCycle has added to the list of things collected for upcycling, which now includes glue stick containers and old computer mice.
Following the collection, scientists analyze what the packaging is made from. “From there, we can see where it has value,” said Taylor.
This year, the schools involved with TerraCycle will be participating in the second “Box that Rocks” contest. In this contest, participants try to produce the most creative collection bin for TerraCycle Brigade items. The winning team can earn extra money and TerraCycle prizes.
“Some locations have fun with collection boxes,” said Taylor.