Friday, April 22, 2011

What do you do with your trash?

Posted By on Fri, Apr 22, 2011 at 11:28 PM

Trash to treasure: empty juice boxes become backpacks.
  • Trash to treasure: empty juice boxes become backpacks.

DIYers and die-hard recyclers can step up their earth-friendly lifestyles a notch by putting trash back into commerce — whether you just make things for your own family or donate recyclables for the greater good. Foil juice containers can become backpacks and pencil cases and M&M bags can decorate speakers.

Eco-speakers camouflaged in candy wrappers.
  • Eco-speakers camouflaged in candy wrappers.

The Cleaner Greener Tour made a stop in Mid-City Wednesday through Friday in honor of Earth Day to collect empty personal care containers — and give the public ideas of how to transform trash into useful and desirable items. The focus of the tour was to illustrate how to “upcycle” containers we normally would send to a landfill or recycling plant. (One of its nifty facts was that one-third of all landfill waste consists of beauty products packaging.)

If you don’t want to take on DIY projects yourself, you can start a “brigade” and earn points for your group. A school, for example can collect foil juice containers (like Capri Sun packets), ship them to TerraCycle, which will make them into backpacks. Plastic pellets can be reformulated to become lunchbox/coolers, Frito Lay chip bags make the inner lining of a cooler, composite wood can be made from everyday trash, etc. In return, the brigade will earn points and pick a charity for which TerraCycle will translate the points into a contribution. Charities include Covenant House, which provides services to homeless and at-risk youth; Feeding America, a hunger-relief organization; National Wildlife Federation, dedicated to conserving wildlife habitat; Charity: water, which provides safe drinking water to developing countries; and many others. (Details, charities and donations are detailed at www.terracycle.net/points).

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