Saturday, December 26, 2015

Granola-eating Terracycler

A few years ago, I started buying the delicious Bear Naked granola to add to my yogurt. Upon closer inspection of the packaging one morning, I noticed small print encouraging me to "Reduce, Reuse, Repurpose" through the Bear Naked Sustainable Packaging Project. Wait...tasty granola that recycles its packaging?! Dream. come. true. At that point, I became a dedicated consumer of the granola and collector of the granola bags. Eventually had enough to send in, and by paying a small shipping fee, I had earned an Upcycler t-shirt! Being that he wears a t-shirt almost every day of his life, I gifted the shirt to Ryan, who also happens to be the most creative up-cycler I know. From then on, I was hooked. Although I haven't been eating as much granola lately, I've continued to save stockpile Bear Naked packaging in anticipation of earning an even more awesome prize.
So imagine my disappointment when I went on the Bear Naked website and could no longer find information on how to exchange my pile of empty packages for prizes...until I clicked on the somewhat hidden TerraCycle® link under their "Forward Thinking" description.

That is when I hit the jackpot.

Since earning the Upcycler t-shirt (which could have been five years ago for all I know),  the good people at TerraCycle® have expanded their recycling program. They now collect baby food and juice pouches, used Brita® products, empty Colgate® packages, Glad® food storage products, cigarette waste, used shoes, and more! Being that I already HATE throwing these items in the trash and LOVE sending packages in the mail, I cannot come close to describing how excited I am about discovering this program. 

After creating an account, you can choose from various "Brigades" to join. Basically this means selecting the types of products you are going to collect and send in. So far I've been able to join the Bear Naked® and Colgate® Brigades, and am on the waiting list(!) for Glad® and Tom's of Maine®.  By sending in your used products (using their free, pre-paid, printable shipping label!), you can earn points that can be redeemed for charitable gifts, product bundles, and collection materials. Way better - and less wasteful - than a t-shirt in my opinion. 

Suffice it to say that I can hardly wait to mail in my (recycled) envelope of granola packaging and start collecting other materials to TerraCycle® (that word seems like it should also function as a verb, right?).  And my timing couldn't be better, as Bear Naked is one of the featured products offering holiday bonus points on every shipment sent in before the end of December.