Wrapper Recycling Expands on Danforth Campus

In late February, Alpha Phi Omega, the gender-inclusive community service fraternity, 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.

The Bear’s Den collection immediately caught on. Every six wrappers collected earn one week of clean water for someone in a developing community through charity: water, a nonprofit that works with local partners to build wells and provide clean water and basic sanitation in areas where water-related deaths are high. In less than two months, WashU has collected enough wrappers to provide eight months of clean water to a person in need!

Due to the program’s success, a second box has been placed in the Village. With this new location, Alpha Phi Omega members hope to reach their goal of three years of clean water before sending wrappers to TerraCycle to be recycled.