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Turn School Trash into Cash

From juice pouches to chip bags, recycling makes cents

    With school starting, kids will be packing their lunches, gobbling individual snacks and drinks.
    Ziploc sandwich bags, Capri Sun juice pouches, chip bags and the plastic wrap that protects a homemade cookie will all be thrown away after every lunch, destined to release carbon emissions in a landfill.
    St. Paul’s Lutheran School in Glenn Burnie is taking steps to reduce its carbon footprint and, at the same time, cash in.
    A year ago, St. Paul’s partnered with the New Jersey recycling company TerraCycle’s Drink Pouch Brigade to recycle juice pouches. Kids drop their empty pouches in shipping boxes, not the trash. The brigade collects all aluminum and plastic drink pouches from Capri Sun to Honest Kids.
    Last year students and staff of St. Paul’s recycled 18,000 juice pouches. At the same time, they’ve earned $2,700 for their school.
    Tom Szaky, a student from Princeton University, started TerraCycle his freshman year. Since 2001, TerraCycle has recycled more than 2.6 billion units of waste that would have otherwise ended up in landfills.
    Recycling products not handled by local recycling plants reduces carbon emissions, a major greenhouse gas, that waste products emit while decomposing in a landfill or burning in an incinerator.
    TerraCycle recycles and repurposes this would-be waste. The juice pouches it collects from St. Paul’s and other schools become totes and backpacks. Chip bags become notebooks, binders and other office items, all sold on its website, www.terracycle.com.
    The Drink Pouch Brigades can recycle typical trash from juice pouches to Brita filters to cigarette waste. Partners can earn cash back or choose to donate money to a favorite charity or redeem points for TerraCycle products made from recycled waste.
    St. Paul’s chose the money.