Posted in design and architecture, food

Kitschy science and activism

From Fast Company:

Terracycle is on a roll. First the startup installed a pop-up shop in New York City’s Port Authority, and now the company has announced a deal that will put its cookie wrapper pencil cases, recycled paper trash cans, and other upcycled products in 3,429 Walmart stores nationwide.

Terracycle has come a long way in its nine years of existence. The company started out selling plant food made from worm waste products and more recently has begun to repurpose packaging from brands like Frito-Lay and Wrigley’s into everything from messenger bags to cell phone cases. Last month, Terracycle began producing more utilitarian products, including trash cans, clip boards, and fences.

Now that Terracycle is getting nationwide exposure, the company hopes that the concept of upcycling will become more familiar to consumers. “We think that the success of this program would go a along way to convincing major retailers that consumers want more green goods,” explained Albe Zakes, Terracycle’s VP of Media Relations. “We hope to show more average consumers that they can shop more sustainably by showing them eco-friendly products can be fun, well-designed, and most importantly, affordable.”

This month, Walmart shoppers will get an extra bonus: Until April 29, Terracycle products are being sold next to the products they came from–i.e. a box of Oreos will be sold next to a backpack made out of recycled Oreo wrappers. It doesn’t get much more self-explanatory than that.



Beth Kelley is an applied & digital anthropologist with an overall interest in how people engage with and are impacted by their environments and vice versa. This has manifested itself in many ways, by looking at creativity, playful spaces, built environments, and environmental enrichment, sustainability, design research, and integrative and collaborative models of learning such as through play and hands-on learning.