TerraCycle challenge get $$ for schools

Want some cash for your trash? 

TerraCycle has been giving schools participating in its "Brigade" program -- they send in various used wrappers and drink pouches and such -- just that for years. The Trenton company pays two cents an item, then makes cool stuff with it and sells it. It's been a wildly successful business model.

Now, there's a new opportunity. TerraCycle has teamed up with Walmart to reward the top-collecting New Jersey schools with additional money, in the form of grants. A total of $125,000 is available, although individual grants will range from $5,000 to $50,000.

The contest started Oct. 1, but there's still plenty of time to collect stuff. It ends Dec. 15. 

So far, the Allenwood Parent Teacher Group in Wall (inshore of Point Pleasant Beach) is leading the pack, having collected 6,058 pieces of stuff the students otherwise would likely have thrown out. The school proceeds so far: $121.16.

But it's a tight race. East Amwell Township School is in second place, with 5,754 items sent in. Third is the Hilltop School PTA with 5,664.

Overall, TerraCycle reports it has kept more than 1.75 billion pieces of non-recyclable packaging out of landfills and has more than 12 million people across the US collecting hard-to-recycle packaging. The Brigade programs have also paid about $1.5 million dollars to schools and non-profits.

TerraCycle makes 186 products from waste. But more are undoubtedly on the way. Their product developers are always busy.

You can buy the stuff from the company website.