Recycling program benefits children with disabilities

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“Enseñando a caminar por la vida A.C.” (ENCAVI) earned over 80,000 pesos from a recycling program. Photo: Courtesy

Mérida, Yucatán — When more than a million used snack bags were sent away to be recycled, more than 80,000 pesos came back to help local children with disabilities.

The collection drive was centered at Teaching to Walk for Life, the apt name for a program that helps guide children to perform various daily activities.  

Known here as “Enseñando a caminar por la vida A.C.,” or ENCAVI, the teaching center also instills on kids values such as caring for the environment.

One environmentally focused campaign at ENCAVI is in cooperation with parents who help collect used plastic snack bags for recycling. With the help of the international recycling company TerraCycle Mexico and its focus on eliminating waste.

The administration and parents cooperated to collect exactly 1,611,950 old snack packaging in six months. The garbage was stored in a warehouse and sent to be recycled by TerraCycle.

The accumulated trash became a treasure, raising ENCAVI 80,597.50 pesos under TerraCycle’s points system. Earnings will be used to improve their facilities and purchase materials.

Trenton, N.J.-based TerraCycle has offices in Europe, Asia and South America; in Mexico, they operate out of Monterrey. Programs like this run in 20 countries.

TerraCycle’s national recycling system in Mexico tackles so-called “non-recyclable” or “difficult to recycle” materials, such as snack wrappers. The company calls itself “one of the world’s leaders in eco-capitalism and the reuse of non-recyclable, pre and post-consumer waste.” 

Tom Szaky, founder of TerraCycle.

Founder Tom Szaky was born in Budapest, Hungary in 1982, but while he was still a child his family emigrated as political refugees to the Netherlands and eventually to Toronto. Szaky entered Princeton University in 2001, but the next year he took a leave of absence to dedicate himself full-time to growing TerraCycle, which began as a two-man outfit in a dorm room.

TerraCycle’s breakthrough came in 2004, when Home Depot and Walmart started selling its little-known “worm-poop” fertilizer. In 2006, Inc. Magazine named TerraCycle “The Coolest Little Start-Up in America.”

In exchange for certain types of garbage, TerraCycle provides a cumulative economic incentive which is donated to non-profit organizations. To participate, visit or call 01 800 681 1589.

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