One Amazing Volunteer!

Jodi is an amazing SECRETS volunteer who works with us at Colonel Wright Elementary. Learn how you can get involved with SECRETS here!

Master Recycler Jodi TePoel Helps Local School Make Money From “Garbage”

Anyone who knows Jodi TePoel knows that she is a passionate dumpster diva. A busy mom of three, she volunteers at the Habitat Re-Store in The Dalles, takes college classes as time allows, volunteers at A&P Recycling, and much more.

Jodi has been an avid collector for the TerraCycle program for several years. TerraCycle is a company which collects items we would typically throw away as trash, such as pens, toothpaste tubes, glue sticks, juice packs, etc. and recycles and/or upcycles them into new products. Once you register for a TerraCycle “Brigade” (collector of certain products), TerraCycle will write a check to the non-profit of your choice for ever item you send to them. Typically, items are valued at $.01 to $.02 per piece. Last year, Jodi launched a pilot TerraCycle ‘fund raiser’ at Colonel Wright Elementary. She showed students and staff that they could get paid for their trash.

Recently, Jodi sent a letter to parents and teachers at Colonel Wright with an expanded opportunity to raise more funds through TerraCycle Brigades. “It is really a very simple process,” says TePoel. “I have a list of items we send in to and they pay us for it, as well as paying for the shipping costs. All it costs us is a small amount of time of which I have volunteered myself to do.”

TePoel has placed blue bins in the halls of the school for students to deposit their items. Jodi is even taking care of the sorting herself!

The materials that are being salvaged, was previously going to the landfill. Last year, TePoel says they were able to make a whopping $226.39 just from their trash! This year’s funds are being earmarked to help pay for the SECRETS science program every Colonel Wright 5th grader gets to participate in.

Go to to get more information on their program, and how you might tap in to save materials from the landfill AND help out your favorite non-profit at the shame time!


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