Upcycling Is the New Recycling

So you've got your local recycling system down pat — but what about all the other stuff your city won't accept? If the growing piles of plastic wine corks or Clif Bar wrappers are getting you down, check out these fun recycling programs. They're custom-made for the environmentalist who likes to sweat the small stuff!

  • Become a greener cookie monster. Save your Oreo wrappers and, while you're at it, save those juice pouches, wine corks, energy bar wrappers and yogurt containers too! TerraCycle wants all that stuff to upcycle into new, more durable products like pencil cases and reusable totes. For most programs, you do have to sign up and commit to collecting quite a few discarded wrappings. However, winos have it easy: TerraCycle simply lets you mail in however many corks you've got! 
  • Put those used Brita filters toward a cause. While the European Brita GmbH company has created a take-back recycling program for its filter cartridges, its U.S. counterpart - Brita Products Co. - is owned by Clorox, which has no such program in place. So, the Take Back the Filter campaign wants your old Brita filters, which will be used as a visual showcase of sorts in order to push Clorox to help us recycle. 
  • Artcycle those produce stickers. They're small, they're sticky and they're ubiquitous, stuck even on some farmers' market produce. Unfortunately, these stickers aren't recyclable or compostable, making them a sticky issue for some environmentalists. Enter artist Barry “Wildman” Snyder. The Colorado native uses produce stickers to create mosaic art pieces via the "S.O.S. the Save Our Stickers Foundation," which "provides a new home and a meaningful purpose to these unassuming stalwarts of our supermarket lifestyles." 
  • Lastly: Remember that reducing is always better than reusing or recycling — even upcycling! So here's one last yummy eco-tip: Think delicious, oven-fresh home-made cookies before resorting to Oreos.

 

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