TERRACYCLE COLLECTOR SPOTLIGHT: Usdan Summer Camp for the Arts

Art is an inspiration to change, and Usdan Summer Camp for the Arts’ commitment to sustainability and recycling includes TerraCycle as part of its robust programming. A tradition since its first day, July 1, 1968, Usdan provides free ice cream daily to its 1,400+ campers to end on a sweet note; the wrappers, like the ones from candy and other snacks, are not accepted in the current recycling system.

Using TerraCycle’s Candy and Snack Wrappers Zero Waste Box, 35,000 ice cream wrappers have been diverted from landfills this year, and this number is only projected to grow next summer!

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“It’s been well reported that focusing on one’s own waste stream is a doable and critical way to reduce impact on the climate,” said Lauren Brandt Schloss, Executive Director for Usdan Summer Camp for the Arts. “Thanks to the Claire Friedlander Foundation, Usdan has been able to partner with TerraCycle. We took a look at what item is most consistently found in Usdan’s garbage…Making that aspect of our waste stream recyclable stood out as a top priority.”

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Founded in 1968, the Long Island, N.Y. day camp engages children pre-K through 12 around creativity and the importance of protecting the planet on 140 acres of woods, nature being the ultimate teacher of creativity. 

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In addition to the TerraCycle program, Usdan demonstrates its dedication to the earth many interesting and innovative ways:

  • In a class called Sustainable Art & Design, students learn about the energy and forces behind sound with a special gong (rung at the start and end of each session) that captures the energy of the vibrations and turns them into electricity.
    • This is of particular interest to TerraCycle, as we also have gongs in all of our offices, and send around email “GONG HITS” when we close a deal!
    • This summer, the class expanded its focus to include harnessing energy from other sources, such as a swinging hammock (to power up a light board, giving them perspective to the power of slowing down and relaxing) and the output air waste from an A/C unit in a theater studio (captured in a wind turbine in the garden).
  • The camp does not support single-use water bottles on campus, instead offering water refilling stations and encouraging students to bring their own reusable vessels from home. If they forget, ones are available for them to borrow.
  • Many of the music and dance classes and recitals take place in open-concept “classrooms” that bring students and staff close to nature, often finding birds, deer, and other wildlife as part of their audience.
  • Not only is there no waste in Nature, but in it, one can find everything we need; you just have to look! 
    • As part of the visiting artists program, including a recent foraging tour with “Wildman” Steve Brill, students learn to forage, gather, and cook native species found in the camp’s surrounding forests, experimenting with plants and gardens to prepare for a potentially heat-stressed world with “recipes for the future.”

Click here to learn more about Usdan Summer Camp for the Arts and it’s dedication to the environment.

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