Monday, July 7, 2014

Receiving and Shipping TerraCycle

So today I want to talk about receiving and shipping TerraCycle items. The first day I came to the Garden House, there were three rained-on, dirty grocery bags sitting outside on the front step. We keep the Garden House locked, but during the school year we have a student worker who goes around campus with her green TerraCycle wagon to pick up items from the dorms. This service is not available in the summer, hence the trash-and-drop surprise I found. This trash was good trash, trash that could be sent to TerraCycle for points, however it was not something I wanted to touch, let alone bring into the Garden House. Which brings me to my first point: Have an unlocked drop-off area for students to bring their trash.

 Luckily, we have a shed right next to the Garden House that can house these items, we just needed to make specific signs directing students to this location. When you introduce TerraCycle to your campus, make sure you acknowledge appropriate and inappropriate places to drop off items. This will save you a lot of hassle and a big mess for when students want to TerraCycle in inclement weather. Here is a picture of it!

Now that you have the items safely inside and can refer to yesterday’s post on sorting, you are ready to send your items to TerraCycle! The first thing that is important to note is that SOME BRIGADES HAVE WEIGHT MINIMUMS. I’m sorry, that had to be in capital letters. Too many times have we sent boxes to TerraCycle that did not weigh enough for their brigade requirements, and unfortunately we did not receive a single point for that box. Make sure you have boxes of all sizes because the snack bag brigade, for instance, needs to weigh at least 14 pounds per shipment. That may not seem like an incredible amount, but you would be shocked at how many snack bags that is as well as how big of a box you will need to fit them all. I was practically laying my body on the box to be able to seal it shut today, and it was a huge box. Lots of snack bags. Okay, let’s move on.

You may need to set up some sort of shipping/transportation system. What I mean by this is that we have a location on campus that will ship our TerraCycle boxes. However, it is about a half mile from the Garden House, which is certainly not walking distance if you are trying to carry the amount of heavy boxes that we accumulate to ship. Luckily, we had a faculty volunteer, Dr. Baker, who was willing to let us use his truck space to drive the boxes to our shipping building. This will be important for you to procure before you begin packing your boxes up. It makes the room much more cluttered to have giant boxes sitting around that could be well on their way to the post office, if only you had a way to transport them.

Well, those have been my main challenges so far that I do not want you to struggle with! I will keep you updated as my sorting days carry on here.

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