If you’re reading this on a park bench in Philadelphia, you might actually be sitting on a bunch of Snickers wrappers right now. That’s thanks to Subaru—yes, as in the car—who’s teamed up with a recycling company to make tough-to-recycle snack paraphernalia into public, outdoor furniture. Snacks: they really can do it all!
Subaru’s partner in this endeavor is TerraCycle, a New Jersey-based recycling business, whose goal is to “eliminate the idea of waste.” That means collecting trash that “traditional recyclers” don’t deal with: coffee/tea/creamer cups, straws, snack wrappers, disposable cups and lids. TerraCycle provides pre-labeled Zero Waste Boxes to 588 Subaru dealerships across the U.S. According to a Subaru marketing manager, they’ve collected over three million pounds of waste. That seems like a whole lot of waste, though to be fair, I’ve never see the Great Pacific Garbage Patch IRL.
Once those boxes are full, they get sent back to TerraCycle, which sorts the items: organic waste and papers are composted, metals are melted down, and all those plastic recyclables mentioned above are turned into pellets. Those pellets are then molded into park benches, outdoor tables, and playground equipment.
Subaru’s long marketed itself as a car for (ahem) outdoorsy types. So it’s on-brand for the Japanese company to help fight for sustainability. This recycling initiative is part of their Subaru Loves The Earth initiative, where the auto brand teams up with conservationists and eco-friendly brands to help preserve the great outdoors. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the automaker is expanding the recycling boxes into new locations, including 148 REI retailers across the states. The late Dana Fairbanks would be so proud.