We’ve all heard the term RECYCLING but how many of you have heard the term UPCYCLING? Anyone want to take a guess what the definition of UPCYCLING is?
According to Wikipedia; Upcycling is the use of waste (trash) materials to provide useful products. The main difference between recycling and upcycling is that there is minimal processing involved with upcycling. The waste materials are used in the waste form to create a new and useful product. I’ll give you some examples in a minute.
TerraCycle, Inc is a company out of Trenton, NJ that has mastered the art of upcycling. While in college at Princeton University, TerraCycle founder Tom Szaky had a wonderful idea for marketing worm poop. Worm poop? Yes, I did say worm poop. A form of composting is vermicompost where worms break down the materials and the worm poop is then used as a mulch or plant food. Well Tom had the idea of selling this worm poop as an all natural plant food. There’s more; Tom decided that he would bottle this special plant food in used soda bottles. Thus bringing in the upcycling.
Pictured above is one of the many plant foods marketed by TerraCycle, Inc.
Soda bottles are collected through the TerraCycle Bottle Brigade where schools and organizations can earn money for sending in used soda bottles. I first heard about TerraCycle about 4 years ago at work. One of my facilities participated in the Bottle Brigade as a fund raiser for an Equine Rescue Non-Profit Organization.
Now, years since Tom’s original idea the company is exploding. I’ve seen their products at local big-box retailers such as Home Depot, Wal-Mart, and Target. The products now range from garden products, cleaning products, and even accessories like tote bags. And each product includes the upcycling idea using what would have been a waste material and turning into something useful.
In the coming days I will focus of the different brigades that TerraCycle currently has to collect waste. I will also spend a day on each area of products; gardening products, cleaning products, and the fun accessories and bags. At the end of my series on TerraCycle I will even have a GIVEAWAY of one of their fun tote bags. So stay tuned and learn more about TerraCycle and upcycling.