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Community Recycling Challenge

Join us in our Recycling Challenge and play your part in helping us reach the 1,000-pound target by October 2024. Together, we can create a greener environment, plus a chance to win a prize for our community!

NexTrex 'Bags to Bench' Challenge

Our co-op has teamed up with the Institute on the Environment (IonE) at the University of Minnesota, the Boreas Sustainability Leaders Cohort, and NexTrex for an exciting recycling challenge.

Let's work together to collect over 1,000 pounds of soft film plastics and packaging within the next 12 months! If we achieve our goal, NexTrex will reward our collective efforts with a beautiful furniture bench that we can all enjoy. This bench will serve as a symbol of our commitment to sustainability and our dedication to creating a greener future.

Challenge Details:

How to Get Involved

It's simple! All you need to do is gather your clean and dry plastic bags, wraps, and other soft plastics, and bring them to our specially designated collection locations at CTC.

By participating in this challenge, you're not only contributing to a greener environment but also helping us win a fantastic prize for our community. Every little bit counts, and together we can make a big difference.

Acceptable Items 

What Can be Recycled*?

  • Grocery bags
  • Bread bags
  • Produce bags
  • Cereal bags
  • Ziploc and other reclosable food storage bags
  • Case overwrap
  • Dry cleaning bags
  • Newspaper sleeves
  • Plastic shipping envelopes
  • Bubble wrap
  • Air pillow packaging
  • Ice bags
  • Salt bags
  • Wood pellet bags
  • Pallet wrap and stretch film
  • Plastic films labeled with #2 or #4 recycling symbol (polyethylene films)
*All plastic must be clean, dry, and free of food residue. View Acceptable Items 

Do NOT Include these Items in NexTrex® Recycling:
  • Frozen food bags
  • Candy bar wrappers
  • Chip bags
  • Net or mesh produce bags
  • Degradable/compostable bags or film packaging
  • Pre-washed salad mix bags
  • Pet food bags
  • Hot dog or meat wrap packaging
  • Six-pack rings
  • PPE- Gloves, masks, or protective wear
  • Pool covers
  • Lamination film
  • Silage and hay bags
  • Backyard ice rinks
  • Vinyl shower curtains or tablecloths
  • Bedding or linen packaging
  • Shiny, crinkly films like floral wrap

Don't See Your Item on the List?

Try these tests to see if your plastic is recyclable polyethylene or not or review the list of frequently asked questions:

  1.  See if the package will stretch when you pull it. If yes, it can be included. If it tears like paper, the please do NOT recycle in the NexTrex® bin.
  2. Is the package shiny or does it make a crinkly/crunchy sound in your hand? If yes, do NOT recycle in the NexTrex® bin.
  3. Review list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Drop-Off Locations

Bring your collected plastic film to our designated collection points. Look for clearly marked bins at the two locations. Please note that your plastic film materials must be dropped off at one of the CTC bins in order for the co-op to receive credit toward our goal.

  1. CTC Community Center (1250 Fifield Ave)
    Monday-Friday: Open 7:00 am-6:00 pm
    Saturday-Sunday: Closed
  2. CTC Study Center (1295 Gibbs Ave)
    Monday-Friday: Access ​24 hours a day with Laundry Room Key (UMN #57)
    Saturday-Sunday: Access ​24 hours a day with Laundry Room Key (UMN #57)
Bin full/overflowing or needs help?

Each month, a CTC volunteer will empty the bins to weigh and deliver the collected plastic film to a participating retailer for recycling. Report a bin that needs emptying or assistance. 

Spread the Word

We believe in the power of community, and the more people who participate, the closer we get to our goal and the greater our impact will be. Please share this challenge with your friends, neighbors, and family to encourage their involvement in this important initiative!

Stay Updated

Stay tuned for updates on our progress as we work towards the 1,000-pound goal. We'll be sharing our achievements and celebrating every step of the way!

Each month, a CTC volunteer will weigh and deliver the collected plastic film to a participating retailer for recycling. Want to help volunteer? Email us!

Why Participate?

Thank you for being a part of this important initiative. Let's recycle, reuse, and make our community an even better place to live!


If you have any questions or are interested in circularity, plastics, and sustainability, please reach out to Meg Earnest, UMN IonE Program Manager for Graduate Student Leadership Development.

If you are interested in volunteering, please contact Lindy Wirth, CTC Communications and Community Outreach Manager.