How Thrift Shopping Can Help the Environment, Save Money and Improve Your Style

How Thrift Shopping Can Help the Environment,

Save Money and Improve Your Style

Written by Sarah Coff

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As Macklemore once said, “One man’s trash, that’s another man’s come-up.” Many others have jumped on the thrift shop bandwagon with Macklemore. Rather than spending their time and money shopping in a mall, they’re taking their business to thrift stores where they can discover unique, secondhand wardrobes while becoming more eco-friendly consumers.

Environmental Benefit:

Before purchasing a brand new shirt, take into consideration its environmental footprint. For example, manufacturing a single cotton t-shirt requires an enormous amount of water, not to mention the carbon emissions associated with transporting that new shirt around the world, only to inevitably end up in a landfill. Dyeing clothes can also be an incredibly environmentally taxing process. By keeping our consumption of newly manufactured clothing to a minimum, we can help reduce some of these environmental impacts.

Money Savings:

Thrift store clothing typically sells for a fraction of the retail price. As much as I would love to buy a new pair of pre-ripped jeans for $80, I would be foolish to do so. Back in the day when I was young and naïve, the thought of wearing a “cooler” outfit seemed more important than the environment or my depleting bank account. Now that I am older and somewhat wiser, I am more conscious of my purchases. Especially considering I am a college student that has studied abroad and currently has an unpaid internship, it’s important to be more aware of how I’m spending my money.

Trendiness:

Who says wearing secondhand clothing isn’t cool? Along with Macklemore, other celebrities like Zooey Deschanel and Julia Roberts shop at thrift stores. Some of the most interesting and creative outfits I’ve worn are made from items I got from thrift stores and secondhand stores. I’d rather be wearing something different anyway, instead of the same shirt as the rest of the girls at school.

At TerraCycle, the Design Team even occasionally makes upcycled clothes out of recycled or upcycled materials, which is pretty incredible. My mind was blown when I saw this dress made out of old movie filmstrips!Image 7.28.15_2

 

4 Unconventional Green Inventions

4 Unconventional Green Inventions

Written by Katy Donovan

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“Rethink, Reuse, and Recycle!” These words have been embedded in my mind since hearing them at yearly assemblies in elementary school. Throughout our lives we hear how critical it is for us to recycle and reuse the products that we use in our everyday lives. While the importance of recycling may be a new concept to some, there are many inventions and innovative technologies helping to preserve our natural resources and make positive impacts on the environment. You are likely aware of electric cars, solar panels, and eco-friendly light bulbs, but there are many unconventional inventions and technologies used around the world that you have probably never heard of. Someday, these inventions may even become a part of our everyday lives.

1. The White Goat

The White Goat, invented by Oriental, is a machine that transforms regular office paper into toilet paper, helping to save both money and trees. Here’s how it works: First, paper is placed into the machine. While inside, the paper goes through a quick process that involves shredding, dissolving into water, thinning, drying, and finally, spinning into toilet paper rolls.

For more information, photos and videos, visit: http://www.techeblog.com/index.php/tech-gadget/white-goat-machine-transforms-shredded-paper-into-toilet-paper

2. The Moss Carpet

Designer Nguyen La Chanh created The Moss Carpet, a bathmat made out of recycled latex foam and various types of moss. Since the moss flourishes in damp, humid environments, the bathroom is the perfect location. Long-live the steamy shower!

Find out more information here: http://inhabitat.com/moss-carpet-by-nguyen-la-chanh/

3. The Pencil Printer

The Pencil Printer comes from the mind of designer Hoyoung Lee. The printer uses the wood from pencil stubs to print documents, eliminating the need for ink cartridges. The printer even includes an “eraser” so the paper can be reused.

For more information, photos and videos, visit: http://www.ippinka.com/blog/pencil-printer/

4. The River Gym

The River Gym is a design that won third place in New York Magazine’s Create a Gym contest, held in 2005. Inventors Mitchell Joachim and Douglas Joachim came up with the idea of a floating gym that utilizes the energy given off by people exercising, propelling the floating device and allowing it to move and travel across New York’s waterways. This invention is sure to save the time and energy of busy commuters!

For more information and photos, visit: http://inhabitat.com/the-floating-human-powered-gym/

To see more of Mitchell Joachim’s designs visit: http://www.archinode.com/Arch9fab.html

The Dangers of E-Waste and What You Can Do to Help

The Dangers of E-Waste and What You Can Do to Help

Written by Cara Mattaliano

Blog Post 7.17.15E-Waste

Do you treat your iPhone, camera, or television set just like any other piece of trash? Have you ever wondered what happens to your electronic waste once it is tossed in the garbage? According to CNN, 70% of all electronic waste in the world is sent to China.

Why is this bad?

Once the e-waste arrives in China or another country, legally or not, it is taken apart and the usable materials are sold back to manufacturers. This process is dangerous and harmful to the workers due to the number of toxic chemicals found in electronic devices, such as lead and fire retardants. Additionally, e-waste recovery can have an extremely detrimental effect on the environment. The pollution that occurs as a result of burning circuit boards or using acid to recover materials like steel can be deadly.

The e-waste recovery industry thrives in Guiya, China, home to thousands of businesses devoted to processing discarded electronics. As a devastating result, this town reportedly has the highest number of cancer-causing toxins in the world, leading to elevated rates of miscarriages and lead poisoning.

What can you do to reduce the amount of e-waste sent to places like Guiya, China every year? 

  1. Sell it. Websites like eBay or craigslist are great outlets for selling electronics, and retailers such as gazelle.com are willing to pay up to $350 for an old-yet-functional iPhone 5s. What better way to say goodbye to your old electronics than with a bump to your bank account?
  2. Donate it. Komputers 4 Kids and Cell Phones for Soldiers are great organizations where a contribution will help someone in need and the environment at the same time
  3. Order a E-Waste Zero Waste Box from TerraCycle’s website. Once purchased, fill the box with your e-waste and send it back to TerraCycle, where the waste is separated and safely recycled.

It takes 530 pounds of fossil fuels, 48 pounds of chemicals, and 1.5 tons of water to manufacture one computer and monitor. Currently, only 12.5% of e-waste is recycled. Be a part of the solution, and help to save the environment!

Bringing Sustainability to College Campuses

Bringing Sustainability to College Campuses 

Written by Brittany Thatcher

 TCNJ

The College of New Jersey, only about four miles away from the TerraCycle headquarters in Trenton, New Jersey, has recently signed on to the American College and University President’s Climate Commitment, along with many other colleges and universities across the country. By doing so, TCNJ is making a commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from campus operations, and promote research and educational efforts to help stabilize the Earth’s climate.

To help with these efforts on campus, TCNJ founded a committee that I was lucky enough to intern for, in addition to my internship at TerraCycle. This committee, known as the President’s Climate Commitment Committee, was created to research other colleges with similar initiatives and determine what they have done to reduce campus-wide carbon emissions and limit their environmental footprint. Needless to say, being involved with both this committee and TerraCycle has made me think about being green more than ever before.

GreenHouse Image

One of the most important things I have learned is that whether you are an individual, a small business, or even an entire school, everyone has the opportunity to get involved in one of the many recycling programs offered by TerraCycle. These recycling programs allow anyone to recycle traditionally non-recyclable waste that would otherwise end up in landfills.

TCNJ is going in the right direction by trying to reduce carbon emissions, but this is just one of the many steps that every university must take to have a more positive impact on the environment. Considering TCNJ is so close to TerraCycle’s headquarters, it would make sense for some of TerraCycle’s recycling programs to be implemented at TCNJ. Some simple ways TCNJ could do this are by collecting personal care and beauty waste in student dorms, or by placing easily accessible Zero Waste Boxes throughout campus.

Colleges and universities should take the lead in educating the public about what we should be doing to protect our environment. In order for us to preserve the planet for our children to enjoy one day, it is our generation’s responsibility to step up and make significant changes so that our everyday actions don’t continue to negatively impact the environment.

We’re Back!

We’re Back!

Written by Tricia Ang

The TerraCycle gang is back for season 2 of their critically acclaimed TV show, “Human Resources”. This docu-series is an unconventional, comedic, behind-the-scenes look at our company: our mission to eliminate the idea of waste, our charismatic CEO Tom Szaky and the many smart and colorful characters that make up our global headquarters in Trenton, New Jersey.

It was your casual, every day we-should-be-a-TV-show employee conversations that drove Tom and Albe Zakes, VP of Marketing & Communications, to pitch their company documentary to different TV networks and eventually join forces with Pivot, which focuses on “entertainment that inspires passion for social change [amongst] millenials age 18 to 34”. According to Belisa Balaban, EVP of Original Programming for Pivot, “TerraCycle is a remarkable and pioneering company, but it’s also a quirky workplace with its own unreasonable bosses, inscrutable co-workers, and often bizarre staff meetings…making it the perfect setting for a great TV show.  Amidst the fun of the office, the show offers great takeaway on the science behind their innovations.”

In season 2, which will feature 10 new episodes, TerraCycle “explores a wide new world of recycling, hires new employees, digs deeper into groundbreaking science, and crafts DIY projects that change the way we think about trash”. This new season will also feature Recycle Right!, a campaign promoted by Pivot, TerraCycle, and Recycle Across America that focuses on the importance and impact of recycling on individuals and businesses.

Catch the 1st episode of Human Resources Season 2 NOW at http://bit.ly/1TBgObA before the official season premiere on August 7th at 10 pm. Enjoy the latest office shenanigans of one of the fastest growing green, triple-bottom-line companies in the world.

Green Home Improvement

Green Home Improvement

Written by Emily Mills

Blog Post 7.10.15

This summer, I moved into a new apartment. It’s my first place on my own, and there was a lot of work to do when we moved in. The place was dirty and full of trash, and it would have been very easy to throw it all away and never look back. However, interning at TerraCycle has changed the way that I approach “waste,” so I took some extra time and tried to be more creative with the way I cleaned up. Here are some things I learned to help keep your clean up environmentally friendly.

Electronics:

There was a huge computer monitor sitting in the entryway of the house. Instead of just taking it to the dump, I decided to do a little research about how to safely recycle this. Sometimes local businesses hold large collections for e-waste, but unfortunately there weren’t any in my area. That’s when I learned that you can take your e-waste to BestBuy, and they will dispose of it for you. By taking some time to research the resources available to you, it is possible to keep toxic waste out of a landfill.

Clothing & Other Small Items:

There were some clothes lying around the house when I moved in. Some of the nicer things went to Goodwill and the Salvation Army, and I tore up the rattier-looking clothes to use as dust rags. There was also an unopened bag of kitty litter, which I donated to a local shelter. I also found some cleaning products that were still useful, so I adopted them as my own.

Furniture:

Also in the entryway, there was a wrapped, unused box spring and a broken dresser with a mirror. Instead of just throwing them away, I took the box spring and mirror over to the closest Salvation Army so that someone else can use them. I then took the drawers out of the dresser and spray painted it black. Today, it is in our living room as an entertainment center. Just because the drawers were broken didn’t mean the dresser was totally useless.

Recycling:

We live in a duplex, with other girls living upstairs. They are not very clean, and did not correctly separate their trash and recycling. I bought a few more bins and made sure that our recycling and trash are carefully separated, and I have made sure that large boxes are taken apart and recycled properly to save space.

Our Latest Book Launch

Our Latest Book Launch

Make Garbage Great: The TerraCycle Family Guide to a Zero-Waste Lifestyle

Written by Tricia Ang

Blog Post 7.7.15

As a follow up to Revolution in a Bottle and Outsmart Waste comes TerraCycle’s latest book, which aims to be the ultimate, one-stop resource for living a zero-waste lifestyle. Authored by TerraCycle CEO Tom Szaky and VP of Marketing & Communications Albe Zakes, Make Garbage Great is a “fun, pop culture exploration [in which Szaky and Zakes] examine the materials we use in our daily lives, show how they impact the environment, and provide project ideas—from recycling to upcycling and more—to lessen our impact and protect our world”.

The book features all things TerraCycle–244 pages of information and statistics, striking imagery, quotes, eco-tips and amazing Do-It-Yourself projects from Szaky, Zakes and the company’s talented design junkies. It’s a must-have for environmental advocates, so order yours today at: https://a.pgtb.me/LdjGZ2.

 

5 Habits to Become More Eco-Friendly

5 Habits to Become More Eco-Friendly

Written by Cameron Patel

Cameron Patel Blog Post

Many people want to be more sustainable, but are unwilling to make drastic changes to their lives. Even so, every little effort can help. Here are some very easy, impactful changes that anyone can make to their daily lives to make them a bit more environmentally conscious.

1. Conserve Water: Being more efficient with your water usage not only helps the environment, but your water bill too. Even the small things, such as taking shorter showers or not leaving the water running while brushing or doing the dishes, can be helpful ways to reduce your water consumption.

2. Buy Local: Much of our produce is transported long distances before getting to the grocery store, generating a staggeringly high volume of carbon emissions along the way. Buying from local farmers helps reduce these carbon emissions associated with transportation, all while supporting local businesses and eating fresher food.

3. Travel Smart: Cars and other forms of transportation are a significant source of carbon emissions around the world. Thankfully, there are many simple changes that can lower your personal carbon footprint. Things like carpooling with friends, using public transportation, riding a bike, walking, or even getting a simple tune-up on your car can make your daily commute more environmentally friendly.

4. Save Energy: Household appliances can use a lot of energy. When buying appliances like refrigerators or washers and dryers, look for brands that are Energy Star certified. These machines are designed to use energy more efficiently. When possible, turn off any appliances not being used, like the computer or television.

5. Recycle: Most people only recycle certain plastics, aluminum cans and paper through their municipal recycling programs, but there are many other things that can also be recycled. Cell phones, ink and toner, and a variety of other hard-to-recycle products can be donated and recycled through various collection programs all over the country. TerraCycle also has a variety of Zero Waste Boxes that make recycling even easier. All you have to do is fill a box with waste and then send it back to TerraCycle, where each component of the waste is recycled.

How to be an Eco-Friendly Pet Owner

How to be an Eco-Friendly Pet Owner

Written by Michael Baumann

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When caring for our pets, environmental consciousness may not seem like a priority. With just a few changes, though, any animal owner can become eco-friendly while helping their pets lead happier and healthier lives.

Adopt from a local shelter

If you’re considering adopting a pet, try to do so from a local animal shelter. Adopting from rescue groups and shelters is greener than buying from a breeder as it helps these overwhelmed organizations conserve valuable resources needed to provide for the animals. To find a local shelter and give a pet a loving home, visit www.petfinder.com.

Animal waste

Dealing with your pets’ waste is hardly enjoyable, but you can help prevent it from growing into a major environmental headache. Once disposed of, used plastic waste bags can remain in landfills for years before decomposing. Using biodegradable bags, available from retailers like PetCo, can offset this issue as they break down with your pets’ waste. Eco-friendly kitty litter made from recycled materials is also a great option.

Toys

It can be tempting to shower your furry friends with gifts, but choosing quality over quantity can go a long way in reducing waste. When buying toys, avoid plastic-based items in favor of those made from cloths or fabrics that have not been chemically treated. Toys can easily be repurposed from household items like yarn, so long as they are safely prepared. If you and your pet no longer use some toys, feel free to donate gently used items and accessories to your local animal shelter.

Pet food

Just as our own food products have become packed with artificial chemicals and preservatives, pet food frequently suffers from the same issue. By purchasing all-natural or organic pet foods, you can prevent your pet from ingesting artificial ingredients, preservatives, and other substances that may have been prepared in environmentally irresponsible ways. TruFood and Open Farm are two great, and eco-friendly, pet food brands to consider, with packaging that is now even recyclable through two new TerraCycle Brigade programs!

Eco-friendly and safe cleaning materials

Messes are all too common in an animal-friendly home, but take care to use eco-friendly and safe cleaning products. Traditional chemical cleaners can harm your animals, and if improperly disposed of, their containers can be equally troublesome for the environment. TerraCycle has a variety of environmentally conscious cleaners and sprays, which you can find out more about here.

Fun Ways to Repurpose a Mason Jar

Fun Ways to Repurpose a Mason Jar

Written By Mikayla Cimilluca

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Simplistic in looks yet versatile in use, a Mason jar can help you limit spending and make the most of the everyday objects around your home. Listed below is just a glimpse of the many DIY projects that involve repurposing any of your old Mason jars into useful and innovative items you can use around the house.

  1. Design a soap dispenser.

Give your bathroom or kitchen a farmhouse or vintage look by creating a Mason jar soap dispenser. Start by removing and washing the pump dispenser from an old bottle of lotion or soap. Next, cut a hole in the Mason jar’s lid that is large enough for the dispenser tube to fit through, and use some glue to secure it in place. Finally, pour your desired soap into the jar and secure the lid. Feel free to add any personal touches such as paint or beads!

  1. Make a traveling lunchbox.

Instead of buying an overpriced lunchbox, save yourself the money and use a Mason jar. Easy to transport and pack, you can put almost any small lunch or meal into a Mason jar. Try layering your favorite yogurt with granola or fruit, or make a salad. You can even make a thoughtful gift by filling a jar with your favorite homemade spice or cake mix.

  1. Design a sewing kit.

To start, make a pincushion by removing the jar’s lid and gathering some cotton balls. Glue your cotton balls onto a small disc of cardboard about the size of the jar’s lid, and then cover the cotton with a fabric like burlap, or textile from an old shirt lying around the house. Glue your new pincushion to the top of the lid, and start filling the jar with sewing materials like scissors, buttons, thread, and thimbles. This sewing kit is compact, can be easily decorated, and easy to store.

  1. Use as a desk organizer.

Why waste the money on desk organizers from an office supply retailer when you can use a Mason jar? Place your pens, highlighters, scissors, and other supplies in the jar to save some desk space. Mason jars can be used as organizers for many other items around the house, such as kitchen utensils, bathroom products and toothbrushes, or paintbrushes.