Catch and Release: Upcycling News

Much media ado has been made over TerraCycle — the ingeniously eco-forward company that uses worms to turn organic trash into potent fertilizer sold in reclaimed (hey! Even better than recycled!) pop bottles on superstore shelves.

Now TerraCycle is partnering with Stonyfield Farms, Clif Bar and Honest Tea to close the loop on food packaging — a concept they’re calling “ Sponsored Waste.” The plan is to enlist schools, nonprofits and community groups to set up neighborhood packaging collection drives. Participating locations will earn two cents for every pouch, small yogurt container or energy bar wrapper and five cents for each large yogurt container or 20 oz. bottle they send back, with donations made to the nonprofit of the location’s choice. TerraCycle will then “upcycle” the discards into sustainable vendibles — like Capri Sun tote bags or hand-painted gardening “Yo’Planters,” to be sold at stores like Target and Walgreens later this year.

Tom Szaky, TerraCycle’s 20-something founder and CEO, calls sponsored waste “a unique opportunity to help larger companies reduce their waste streams, while procuring zero cost materials to make eco-friendly products.”

We call it brilliant — and we hope it catches on. Help make that happen by signing up your church, school or office at

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