Trenton recycler offers bounty for chip bags

What do you do with your potato chip bag after you eat the chips? Most of those bags end up in the trash, but a New Jersey company wants to turn them into usable products.

Trenton-based TerraCycle has selected neighboring Hamilton Township as a test site to determine whether consumers are willing to help keep chip bags from ending up in landfills.

TerraCycle founder and CEO Tom Szaky says Frito-Lay is funding the pilot program that gives residents half-a-cent for each bag they turn in to collection boxes.

Szaky says the snack maker produces about 16 billion chip bags annually.

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“Terracycle today collects about 2 million a month already through our national program,” Szaky said. “Our goal is to show that we can scale up to significant percentages, well north of 10, 20, or 30 percent in a township, so that can then be replicated all across the country, making chip bags truly recyclable.”

Szaky says about two percent of the chip bags it collects are made into tote bags and the rest are melted for use as plastic products.

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