As a runner and volunteer race director of a trail race, it drives me nuts when I see gel wrappers or other “fitness trash” on the trails – or the road for that matter. I get that empty gel packs are sticky, but it’s not like you’re not going to wash those shorts before wearing them again, right?
I recently learned about this program run by a company called TerraCycle. They partner with a number of companies, including Bear Naked, Clif Bar & Company brands (including Shot Bloks and Clif Shot) and Tom’s of Maine; and offer programs for everyday refuse items like snack bags (potato chip bags, for example, which I remember learning in grad school have something like 17 layers) and even cigarette butts. For those of you who not only pick up after yourself, but collect other trash on the trail, this is a great program!
The program works like this:
1. You sign up to join a “Brigade” – for example, the “Energy Bar Wrapper Brigade.”
2. You collect the “trash” – some Brigades have suggested volumes; for example they recommend about five pounds of Clif bar packaging
3. You request a pre-paid postage label (for free) from the TerraCycle website
4. You package your “trash” and affix your mailing label, dropping it off at a local UPS store
5. You earn points for your soon-to-be recycled/upcycled “trash” at a designated rate; for example each Capri Sun drink pouch, Entenmann’s Little Bites bag, Colgate toothpaste tube or Clif Bar wrapper sent in will earn the collector one TerraCycle point. Each TerraCycle point is worth $0.01.
6. You designate your points and the cash donation to a non-profit organization or school of your choice
7. You line up as many friends and co-workers to join in the fun.
Now, I know many of our readers use Clif Bar products – designate one person in your running club to collect the “trash” and you can do double duty: keep trash off the roads and trails and raise money for a non-profit organization of your choice! The process is simple and entirely free to participants. Any individual, company, organization or school can join as many of TerraCycle’s 35+ Brigade programs as they choose to begin “recycling the traditionally non-recyclable.”
Despite this being posted on the Run Oregon blog, please do check the TerraCycle program out and see if there’s something you can get organized in your community. It looks like an excellent program for PTAs, church and youth organization, in addition to an easy way to support a cause you care about.
I apologize in advance for the number of ® symbols … but here’s the list of Clif Bar packaging you can recycle through this program, provided by TerraCycle, Inc.:
“The packaging from Clif Bar & Company’s performance products, CLIF SHOT® Energy Gel, CLIF SHOT BLOKS®, CLIF SHOT® Protein Recovery Drink Mix and CLIF SHOT® Electrolyte Hydration Drink Mix is now accepted in Clif Bar and TerraCycle’s® recycling program, the Energy Bar Wrapper Brigade®.”