When I was a kid, I used to love putting Fritos in my peanut butter sandwich. I was so addicted to Fritos that I ate them through college. My usual college lunch was a tuna sandwich, Fritos, and a diet coke. Real healthy, right? Heck, I was young so who cared, right? I must have thrown away hundreds of Frito-Lay packages over my (um) years. Let’s just say lots of years.
Then as I finished college, my sister and I thought Doritos were amazing. Fritos took a backseat to the new cool kid on the block. After law school, I cleaned up my act and stopped eating chips. It was either that or I might as well as stapled them to my hips because that is where they were going to land anyways. You can’t just eat one…
Now I can have my beloved Fritos or Doritos chips anytime without gaining an ounce AND feel good about the environment! No, Frito-Lay did not invent the calorie-free chip. Thanks to a partnership between TerraCycle and Frito-Lay, I can sling my chips over my shoulder in the form of an adorable tote bag or use some cool product that will be made up of the bags. How? TerraCycle will be upcycling all those wrappers to create products! So carry the pounds on your shoulders not your waist, ladies.
Hmm. You are probably wondering what is upcycling as opposed to recycling? According to the Frito-Lay’s FAQs about the partnership:
“Upcycling is the process of using waste in its existing form to create new products. Recycling, by con-trast, breaks the material down (e.g,. a plastic bottle is turned into plastic pellets) so that material can then be reformed into new products. With upcycling, the waste is simply cleaned and shaped, sewn, or fused into new products, like backpacks, messenger bags, lunch boxes, school supplies, shower curtains, and kites.”
It is not a surprised that Frito-Lay and TerraCycle became partners. Frito-Lay has made the following environmental commitment:
“Over the past few years, the company’s packaging initiatives have made some significant strides. This includes reducing the amount of plastic in packaging by 10% and over the last five years eliminating 12 million pounds of materials used to make the snack bags. This month, the company announced that in 2010 its SunChips brand will be introducing a fully compostable bag made from plant-based renewable material. Marking the company’s latest effort, Frito-Lay will be the first snack food company to fund the collection and upcycling of its used packaging,” according to a recent statement by TerraCycle.
(Check out the “Lay’s” Notebook!)
TerraCycle, on the other hand, is one of my favorite companies who is constantly upcycling materials into new products. Remember, they are the worm poop people? In the past, I have written about their venture with OfficeMax to create office supplies made out of recycled materials. My kids are still using their cardboard notebooks! Check out all their upcycled products.
I am so excited about my old friend’s new look, that I signed my school up to collect all the Frito-Lay chip wrappers, such as Fritos, Lay’s Potato Chips, Doritos, and Cheetos. For every wrapper that my school collects, Frito-Lay will donate 2 cents to the school. (For more information about the Frito-Lay Bag Brigade, see here.) I can’t tell you how many kids eat those brands every day.
(Note, this Bag brigade will be our school’s second fundraiser with TerraCycle. We now collect yogurt cups. It seems like every week, the yogurt collection box is full.)
(Cool folder, huh?)
According to the FAQs, this program is scheduled to stop the end of 2009. This would be a crime since my guess is that thousands of wrappers get thrown out every days at schools. So, Frito-Lay, please consider extending your program and adding more opening for other participants. (Right now there are only five spots left, and hopefully my school took one of those remaining spots.) Both Frito-Lay’s and TerraCycle’s goal is quite admirable.
“Our goal is to divert more than 5 million bags from landfills in 2009. We also hope to engage all of Frito–Lay’s 48,000 employees and more than 100,000 consumers in this program to raise awareness of reusing and recycling in local communities across the country,” according to TerraCycle.
To be honest, chips are not the healthiest of food and if you are going to buy them consider buying a large bag in which you can provide a number of servings to your children. Single serving of any food is wasteful even if we are recycling. I know that people are still going to buy single serving chips or cookies, so thank goodness for the folks at Terracycle for creating a useful purpose for all those chip bags and Frito-Lay for the forward thinking to partner with a company like TerraCycle . In this case, someone’s trash, is someone else’s tote bag!