Five Upcycled Thanksgiving Decorations You Can Make At Home

Five Upcycled Thanksgiving Decorations You Can Make At Home

Written by Brittany Thatcher


Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and with it comes the beginning of the holiday season. Lots of purchases are made to prepare for Thanksgiving and the beginning of the Christmas shopping season, and they can really take a toll on your wallet. To save you some money this holiday season, here are a few upcycled Thanksgiving decorations you can make at home!


  1. Upcycled Wine Bottles


Start collecting your empty wine bottles to upcycle them into fun new decorations! There are so many different things you can do with used wine bottles. For example, you can paint the inside of one, and then write or paint Thanksgiving-themed words or phrases on the outside.


  1. Upcycled Wine Glasses


Take your old wine glasses and fill them with candles for a cheap and easy way to decorate. For a new twist on this project, take your glasses and turn them upside down, put acorns or other fall-inspired decorations on the bottom, and then place a candle on top.

  1. Pistachio shell flowers


Start collecting your old pistachio shells to make this beautiful flower! All you need is a hot glue gun and several shells. When it’s complete you can spray paint it with different fall colors and use it as a centerpiece!


  1. Candle Holder



Take a glass jar of any size or shape, fill it with acorns or leaves of different colors, and then place a candle inside to create a unique and festive candle holder. This can also be reused in December by making it more of a winter holiday theme, with items like pine needles or cranberries.



  1. Upcycled Tree Branch



Make a homemade, rustic candle holder by taking a thick tree branch and drilling a hole big enough into the top to fit a candle. For an interesting twist, take a longer branch and lay it horizontally on your table (making sure it is stable) and drill a series of evenly-spaced holes into the top to lay candles, creating a beautiful candelabrum centerpiece!







Motivating Younger Generations to Protect the Planet

Motivating Younger Generations to Protect the Planet

Written by Brittany Thatcher


With rising temperatures, more frequent severe storms and water shortages, the consequences of global warming and people not caring about the Earth are becoming clearer than ever. Over the last few years, we’ve seen changes to our climate that will slowly become life threatening – or already are. This is why environmental consciousness should be a top priority for everyone, especially younger generations.

Young people need to be more aware of environmental issues, as they will likely be the most affected by them in the future. Although there are a lot of young people who are conscious of these important issues, many are not informed or simply don’t care about the impacts of global warming.

Unfortunately, individuals in political positions who actually have the power to make some kind of difference are usually driven by money and the chance to further their political careers. Additionally, many will most likely not be around to experience the consequences of not taking care of the planet, so environmental issues tend to not be a top priority. People in these positions of power need to be concerned about global warming and environmental issues, and should be using their influence to reach young people so that they can get informed and work on making a difference as well.

Young people have a lot going on in their lives; they tend to be focused on their education and taking steps toward building a life for themselves. With these important life decisions in mind, it’s understandable why the environment may not be top priority. However, it is important for young people to be aware of just how important the issue is. We only have one Earth, and we need to start protecting it today.

We are not invincible. It’s time that we recognize this fact and take significant action to protect the planet that sustains us.

For more information on how you can do your part to help protect the planet, and for tips to help you lower your carbon footprint and lead a more environmentally conscious life, please visit the link below.


Image Credit:

Creative Commons License: CC BY-NC 2.0



The Importance of Recycling in College

The Importance of Recycling in College

Written by Joe Passantino


College is one of the easiest places to fall into the trap of just tossing everything in the trash. I know the struggle; students have to worry about papers, exams, their social lives and trying to squeeze some sleep in here and there. But as students learn how to live alone for the first time, they have to get rid of their “waste” somehow.

Last year I lived in a townhouse, and my only option for disposing of used products was to throw them into a pair of large dumpsters, one of which was marked “Recycling Only.” But what I started to notice was that others in the complex didn’t seem too concerned about placing their recyclables in the proper dumpster. Both dumpsters were a combination of recyclables and garbage, which bothered me. I just didn’t understand why others couldn’t take the few seconds needed to make sure potentially useful items didn’t go to a landfill.

As students, it is important that we take responsibility and be mindful of where we place our disposables. Your school likely has a list of what can and can’t be recycled on campus, like this one from my school, The College of New Jersey. Most students know that paper, bottles and cans are recyclable, but maybe less are aware that many municipalities accept batteries for recycling. (Some stores, such as Home Depot, have in-store collection programs to recycle batteries.) Ink cartridges go pretty quickly for many college students, so they might want to consider seeking out a store like Office Max, where they can recycle cartridges for rewards such as store credit. Surely, these solutions are better than throwing these items in with unfinished food from last night’s all-nighter.

Of course, students might be so pressed for time that they are tempted to do the latter. To counter this, I suggest gathering a set of recyclable materials ahead of time and taking one trip a week to a location with a specialized recycling program. Another option for students is to sign up for one of TerraCycle’s Brigade programs. These programs give students the opportunity to collect a waste item of their choice and send their collections to TerraCycle for redeemable points. TerraCycle’s has recycling options for items such as Scotch tape and writing instruments, which college students are sure to go through in spades throughout the year.

The recycling paths open to students are limitless – it is just a matter of consciousness and motivation!


Image Credit:
Hector Alejandro
CC BY 2.0

Westwood Village Opens California’s First Cigarette Butt Recycling Program

Westwood Village Opens California’s First Cigarette Butt Recycling Program

Cigarette butts beware — cigarette waste recycling is finally coming to California! TerraCycle and Los Angeles’s Westwood Village have teamed up to bring the very first cigarette butt recycling program to the state of California. By partnering with TerraCycle, the Westwood Village Improvement Association will be installing 15 cigarette butt receptacles across various highly trafficked sidewalks throughout the area, allowing smokers to responsibly and safely dispose of their cigarette butts. With an estimated 3.5 trillion of these butts littered across the world every year, Westwood Village’s commitment to keeping this toxic and ubiquitous waste stream off the street and out of landfills is an exciting step forward for public health and the environment.

TerraCycle_Westwood Village

Any cigarette butts collected in Westwood Village will be sent to TerraCycle, where every component of the waste is processed. The plastic-fiber filter will be recycled into industrial products such as shipping pallets and railroad ties, while any paper or leftover tobacco is composted.

Are you over the age of 21 and interested in recycling cigarette butts in your community? Check out the Cigarette Waste Brigade and sign up for free today!

How Your Diet Habits Can Lead to a Greener Lifestyle

How Your Diet Habits Can Lead to a Greener Lifestyle

Written by Morgan Kravarik

Image 7.31.15

Recycle your plastic, turn off the water and lights when not in use, and buy used clothes – these are among the most common tips taught to us to help conserve energy and protect the environment without having to disrupt our everyday lives.

But what if I told you there are other, possibly even more fulfilling ways to do your part for the environment? Ways that could help not only the environment, but also your body? Believe it or not, what you eat and how you eat it can have a huge impact on the environment.

Livestock farming, for example, is one of the most environmentally devastating industries in the world. It is responsible for 18 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, and the deforestation of over 130 million acres of rainforest every year. Eighty-two percent of starving people live in countries where crops are fed to livestock whose meat goes on to feed people in western countries.

To make matters worse, most of the crops grown to feed livestock are sprayed with pesticides. When crops are sprayed with pesticides, runoff can leak into the soil and nearby water sources, poisoning marine life and damaging surrounding ecosystems. The energy used to operate livestock facilities is also astronomical, not to mention the energy required to transport the livestock, feed and meat around the world. Considering the huge demand there is for meat (the average American consumes about 209 pounds of it every year), the negative impacts are only going to get worse.

What Can You Do?

Luckily there are many ways we can help! First, you can try to avoid eating meat altogether and go vegetarian or vegan. Adopting a vegetarian or vegan diet can be a huge step toward helping the planet by reducing the demand for meat, but it isn’t for everyone.

You can also buy locally grown produce whenever possible. Local food generates fewer emissions because it doesn’t have to be shipped long distances, and there is usually very little packaging. After you’ve finished consuming your food, you can even compost the remaining scraps.

Finally, use reusable to-go containers and utensils whenever possible. Bamboo utensils, for example, are a great and more sustainable alternative to disposable plastic utensils, as bamboo grows quickly and easily in many parts of the world.

So before your next meal, consciously decide what you’re going to eat and how you’re going to eat it. Lift up the curtain that shrouds our food industry and eat earth-consciously whenever possible. Reduce excess waste, eat healthy, feel incredible, and do incredible things. Make your mark on this world a greener one.

Facts were collected from Cowspiracy, a documentary that lays out the facts of the food industry and how destructive it is. Other main resource was For Your Liberation, an online blog dedicated to a plant-based diet and altogether well-being of self.


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

Image 7.28.15_1

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.


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

Image 7.24.15

“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:

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:

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:

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:

To see more of Mitchell Joachim’s designs visit:

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 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


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 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.