Family & Nursing Care’s recycling program has always included recycling those items required by Montgomery County, but we want to make an impact beyond what is merely required and continually improve our environmentally-friendly practices. We also collect plastic bags in the office, which we drop off at the nearest grocery store for recycling.
In April 2015 we began participating in TerraCycle’s Energy Bar Wrapper Brigade. TerraCycle is an upcycling and recycling company that collects difficult-to-recycle packaging and products and repurposes the material into affordable, innovative products. They have more than 20 “brigades”, or programs for collecting specific types of waste. Their programs are wide-ranging, to fit various niche needs: nearly everything from the ubiquitous red Solo cup to Sharpie and PaperMate pens can be recycled under the TerraCycle brigades.
The Sustainability Committee at Family & Nursing Care took a look at the kinds of waste generated in our office to determine which TerraCycle brigade would best fit our needs. TerraCycle partnered with Clif Bar to offer a recycling program for Clif products, as well as all foil-lined granola bar, protein bar, and energy bar wrappers. Our office is a health-conscious one, and many employees use these kinds of snacks and nutritional supplements throughout the day – it seemed like a perfect fit!
The collection began, and in less than 6 months, Family & Nursing Care’s collection bin was absolutely full with contributions from our 45 office employees. To celebrate our office’s participation, we poured our collection of energy bar wrappers into the conference room and took some fun pictures as we jumped into the pile! We held a contest challenging employees to guess the total number of wrappers, awarding a $50 gift certificate to the closest guess. One brave soul volunteered to count them all, and Care Coordinating Manager Riza Jariol was the lucky winner. Our final count was 810 wrappers, collected in less than six months!
Family & Nursing Care’s stretch goal is to reach the five pound contribution required to earn TerraCycle points, which can then be put toward charitable contributions to the organization of your choice (as long as our staff are eating these bars anyway, we love to keep the wrappers out of the waste stream). Energy bar wrappers are surprisingly light – the 810 of them weighed less than 2 pounds – so five pounds will be a challenge. With any luck, we’ll need an entire team to count the wrappers next time! Family & Nursing Care has enjoyed finding new and innovative ways to both engage office staff and to reduce our footprint, and we’re excited to be a part of the TerraCycle Energy Bar Wrapper Brigade.
Guest blog by Mindy Kursban, Vice President, Therapeutic Massage Services and Corporate Counsel, Family & Nursing Care, which is a Certified Green Business.