Thursday, August 6, 2009

Aveda "Kicks the Cap" out of Plastic!

On my way to a matinee at the Landmark Century Theater, I stopped by the Aveda Institute with a bag full of plastic bottle caps. I know what you're thinking, but let me assure you that they were in fact happy to see me! You see, the Aveda company is leading the way in the area of "producer responsibility", a novel concept that I hope catches on soon with companies large and small, far and wide. In addition to using wind power to generate energy at their manufacturing plants, they have begun recycling plastic bottle caps into bottles and containers for their many products.

Why is this such a brilliant idea, you ask? Well, the caps on most plastic bottles are made from a different (and much harder to recycle) plastic than the bottles themselves, and few local recycling companies can process them. What Aveda has done is to find a use for these caps (all the recycling in the world won't do us any good unless someone finds a way to repurpose these recycled products!) and what better way to reuse old packaging than to turn it into new packaging?

Their "responsible packaging" has long been made from easy to recycle plastics, glass, and even cardboard cartons, and the Caps Recycling Program is their latest effort to keep these little plastic bits from littering our parks, beaches, and oceans. They are looking to partner with schools, to educate students who will then aid in their collection efforts. The company provides a specific description of the type of "rigid plastic" they seek; the lids I had saved from countless gallons of milk did not make the cut, because I could bend them with my bare hand. Some of these rigid plastic caps are marked with the number 5. This sounds like an easy way for students to learn about the "cradle-to-grave" life cycle of a product, and the caps are easy to collect.

The link above has suggestions for parents and teachers who are interested in getting their students involved in this noble effort, and it seems like most of their cap collectors are in fact children; the woman who took my caps kept asking if I was a teacher or had neices and nephews who had asked me to drop the caps off for them, and whether they were excited to be taking part in their program. So I told her that, yes, this was an exciting program, and that I hoped to recruit and excite more people to assist in their efforts to reduce their impact on the environment. And that, my dear readers, is where you come in. The caps can be dropped off at any Aveda salon; the company also provides special shipping labels to schools who enroll in their program so they can mail the caps instead. The process couldn't be easier, and I encourage you to encourage the little people in your lives to start collecting caps today, and let them see that they, too, can make a difference!

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