With having received more than $2,000 worth of benefits from participating in TerraCycle programs since 2010, technology teacher Tim Zavacki has some big plans for this upcoming school year.
TerraCycle is an "upcycle" company that makes consumer products from pre- and post-consumer materials. Organizations are able to participate in the company's programs, donating what would normally be trash such as chip bags, candy wrappers, cereal boxes, apparel and electronics to be “upcycled” and used for new products such as duffel bags, tiles, and school supplies. Over 83,000 items have been upcycled since 2010.
“I have been named a most valuable collector by TerraCycle for being in the top 100 in the USA for successful collections,” Zavacki said.
The school has , winning its Erase Your E-Waste Keyboard and Mouse Brigade last year, receiving brand-new Logitech keyboards and mice in return. Zavacki was able to distribute them throughout the school for teachers and students to use.
This year, not only is Zavacki going to continue upcycling with TerraCycle, but he also wants to educate the administration, staff and students about reducing waste and the benefits of doing so.
“Whether it is about traditional recycling to TerraCycling, to composting, we can help the environment greatly.” Zavacki said. “Currently, we are in the Green Revolution, and reducing our carbon footprint is key for the youth of today to benefit others for tomorrow."
Zavacki is known as the “recycling guy” throughout the school district, picking through the trash for items for TerraCycle.
“Some people think it is disgusting and other do not like that I do it, but I know that I am making a difference for the future,” he said.
Zavacki wants to work with the environmental club, and provide more drop-off locations in the school, cafeteria and classrooms.
Zavacki also gives presentations about composting for the NJ Technology Education and Engineering Association (NJTEEA).
“From composting food scraps to TerraCycling, I love educating about keeping things from entering the waste stream and clogging our landfills," he said. "Recycling and composting are the easiest things we can do as a society to go green.”
He hopes to implement these goals for the school's introduction to technology course.
There is also a TerraCycle club, which will have its first meeting on Sept. 28 in room 505. The school isn't the only place you'll find people working with TerraCycle. collects old toothbrushes, empty toothpaste tubes, and oral care for TerraCycle, and also TerraCycles various items.