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Trash is an outdated concept

Empty chip bags, old toothbrushes and dried-out makeup: their days of going into the garbage are gone.

The Oregon Department of Corrections is partnering with Terracycle, a New Jersey-based innovative recycling company, to kick-start unconventional recycling programs in the state prison system.

Together, the prisons have collected more than 108,000 chip bags, keeping 1,300 pounds out of landfills and instead recycling them into bulk plastics through Terracycle’s Brigades programs.

For each unit of trash — now recycling — donated to Terracycle, the company will award points that convert into donations for schools and charities.

ODOC won the Recycler of the Year award from the group Mid-Valley Green Awards for conserving water and energy and recycling ballistic vests, metal, shoes, and flourescent light bulbs.

In 2011, Terracycle collected old flip-flops—enough to donate the recycled rubber to four school playgrounds. In 2012, the company started the world’s first cigarette butt recycling program.

Julia Rogers can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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