Author explains how recycling can be consumer friendly

There is, however, the issue of what upcycled wrappers and containers used to contain: sugary drinks, cookies and candy.

Is there conflict in upcycling waste to make products when that waste, often collected by children, comes from products that may contribute to obesity? And what of selling to big-box stores, so often demonized for their effect on community spirit and local businesses, not to mention their environmental impact?

Those questions aside, TerraCycle is an innovative, determined company that turned a seemingly kooky idea into an Earth-friendly moneymaker.

And the book itself has eco-friendly cred: It's printed on 100% recycled materials, and the cover can be folded and taped into an envelope for use in upcycling partner Bear Naked's granola bags.

Linda M. Castellitto is a writer based in Raleigh, N.C.

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