By: Lee Middleberg
Within just a few hours at a community fair, amusement park, professional sporting event or concert, hundreds or thousands of people have used plastic cups, consumed a bag of chips or candy bar or have eaten the treats they brought with them. It can easily be assumed no one is thinking about how the container holding their beverage or snack can be reused or recycled. TerraCycle continually thinks about this, which is one reason we want to be involved with more large-scale events.
TerraCycle Brigade participants have created community collection programs at community events l or their location. And, there are some who take it upon themselves to collect at large scale events such as concerts. In fact, there are groups collecting cigarette butts at area concerts this summer. We applaud their effort and would like to take that a step further to have official TerraCycle bins at locations where tens of thousands of people are throwing away recyclable items. TerraCycle’s business development team is talking directly to concert organizers to try to make this happen. We hope you will see TerraCycle signs and bins in parking lots, next to concession stands or on public walkways at a visit to a stadium or amusement park in the next few years.
Another waste stream that is common at a lot of events is polybags. If vendors are selling merchandise on site, it is likely their merchandise has come packaged in a polybag that gets thrown away. This summer, TerraCycle is working with Puma at the America’s Cup to collect and recycle its polybags just like TerraCycle does with The North Face at their stores year-round.
There is such a huge amount of waste generated at events and venues such as airports and malls, and TerraCycle has found was of reusing most, if not all of it. TerraCycle recycles waste into items like plastic lumber, watering cans, plant caddies, and much more. If it’s not coming to a company like TerraCycle, the local trash hauler is probably bringing the garbage to a landfill or incinerator, neither of which are ideal solutions.
Ninety-nine percent of the total material flow in the U.S. becomes garbage in about 6-month time period according to Annie Leonard, author of the “Story of Stuff.” That’s a lot of waste! Scaling up is just one way TerraCycle can achieve its global mission to reduce waste.