Following its establishment three weeks ago, the new Georgetown division of the TerraCycle non-recyclable waste collection program will send its first shipment of materials to the company facility in March.
TerraCycle is a New Jersey-based upcycling firm that collects “difficult-to-recycle packaging and products” from organizations like schools and repurposes the waste into new sellable products, according to its website. The Georgetown University Student Association Senate passed a bill establishing a Georgetown TerraCycle collection program on Feb. 9.
The Georgetown program collects Brita water filters, ink cartridges, beauty products, and Solo cups through a group of bins outside Vital Vittles. GUSA will regularly ship the waste to TerraCycle each time the collection reaches minimum weight requirements. As of Feb. 24, it has collected 207 Solo cups, one Brita water filter, four shampoo bottles, and seven ink cartridges.
According to GUSA Undersecretary of Sustainability Caroline James (COL ‘16), TerraCycle was placed outside Vittles because it saw high foot traffic and was a “more central location to bring [waste] to than the GUSA office.” Co-Chair of the GUSA Senate Sustainability Subcommittee Mandy Lee (SFS ’17) admitted, however, progress has been “definitely … slow.”
TerraCycle reimburses groups for products sent, although according to James, the payment will likely be small. According to Lee, the proceeds will be given to a charity partner yet to be determined.
TerraCycle is also supported by the Office of Sustainability, which helped procure plastic bins, and the Corp Green Team, which provided the spot outside Vittles, helped plan logistics, and utilized its social media platforms to advertise.
“This has really been a student driven project,” Director of the Office of Sustainability Audrey Stewart said. “I’m looking forward to learning about the outcomes of the effort.”
Although TerraCycle has been at Georgetown for just under a month, Lee hopes to see an expansion of the program in the near future.
“We’re designing what could be a dorm launch for TerraCycle. … We’re also looking into establishing an Eco Reps program [that will help implement TerraCycle in dorms],” she said.