Alpha Phi Omega, the gender-inclusive community service fraternity, has started a program on the South 40 to recycle granola bar wrappers. Most recycling companies, including the one Washington University uses, do not accept foil products such as granola bar wrappers and potato chip bags. This waste is generally very difficult for companies to process, and as a result, gets dumped into landfills. However, granola bar wrappers can be recycled through TerraCycle, a small company that pairs difficult-to-recycle products with sponsors that fund both the recycling process and incentives to collect waste. These programs, called brigades, are active in 26 counties. The wrapper brigade alone includes 11,200 participating locations, of which WashU is now one.
A collection box has been placed near the dish return in Bear’s Den. Any foil-lined wrapper can be placed in the box to be sent to TerraCycle and recycled into new products. Foil-lined wrappers include granola, protein, and energy bar wrappers. In addition to diverting this waste from landfill, the TerraCycle program allows participating groups to earn money for charity. Every six wrappers collected will earn 1 week of clean water for someone in a developing community through charity: water. Charity: water uses local partners to build wells and provide clean water and basic sanitation in areas where water-related deaths are high.