Playing into the established “reuse is better than recycle” eco-sensibility, TerraCycle takes trash and transforms it into useful eco-products. TerraCycle runs a series of free national brigades, inviting people to send their garbage in exchange for cash to be donated to schools and nonprofits.
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From a kite made out of Skittles wrappers to an upcycled bike chain picture frame to fire logs made out of recycled cardboard and wax, TerraCycle’s 1,500 products range from the quirky to the utilitarian and are available in a wide range of major U.S. retailers, from Whole Foods to Wal-Mart.
Founded by a Princeton freshman in 2001, TerraCycle has collected nearly 2 billion waste units to date and raised more than $1.5 million for charity.
Maria Popova is the editor of Brain Pickings, a curated inventory of miscellaneous interestingness. She writes for Wired UK, GOOD Magazine, Design Observer and Huffington Post, and spends a shameful amount of time on Twitter.