By upper school English journalism teacher Meredith Mayes
Every time I pulled the Capri Sun box out of the kitchen cabinet at home, I noticed it: a blurb of information on the back of the box about how to recycle used juice pouches and even make a little money in the process. I read the back of the box several time before I decided to take action. At the time, our school served Capri Suns every time we had hot lunch. Every one of those pouches ended up in the trash can. It seemed like a grand idea to combine our school’s high consumption of Capri Suns with a recycling program. So in 2010, with the assistance of the 5th graders, Christ Covenant started recycling Capri Suns. Over the course of the next four years we were able to recycle just over 40,000 Capri Sun pouches with reward money totalling around $950.
The company that allowed us to recycle was Terracycle. This is a collective database for recycling solutions for all forms of waste. They offer a variety of free programs that is funded by manufacturers, retailers, and companies around the world. But this isn’t your normal recycling company. Once the items are collected, they will pay to have the waste shipped to them. Depending on the program, Terracycle will then also pay a small amount of money to non profit businesses who are collecting. Terracycle has become a global leader in recycling hard-to-recycle waste.
So why stop recycling after four years? The Capri Sun recycle program had grown so large that Terracycle had to eliminate some of the smaller collecting locations just to keep up. CCS was then eliminated. At the time, we looked into some of their other recycling options, but then decided to wait. Recycling Capri Suns was a messy job. All pouches had to be drained, cleaned and then dried before shipping, so we decided to take time off and evaluate the programs offered down the road.
It has now been about three years since we stopped recycling and the upper school is going to start another recycling program with Terracycle called the Colgate Oral Care Recycling Program. This program will be recycling dental products. Colgate is the sponsor company, but the program is not just for Colgate products. All items that can be recycled include empty toothpaste tubes with the lid on them, the boxes toothpaste comes in, empty floss containers, toothbrushes, and the packaging that toothbrushes come in. This program does not include mouthwash bottles.
Terracycle will then turn the recycled dental products into school supplies for kids in need. Colgate then takes these upcycled products to donate to schools who need them the most. As of know there are over 20,500 different locations collecting for this program with 2,800,000 pieces of waste already collected. What a huge opportunity we have to make an impact and contribute to this cause!
To help with this recycling drive, simply bring the waste product to the upper school and look for the small bin in the large multi purpose room and leave your waste there. It’s that simple! This program will take more effort than the Capri Sun program because it will require students to bring the items from home, but it’s easy to start a small collection at home and then bring them in to school recycle. If we all make small contributions, then we can make a big impact.