The company TerraCycle is much like a music producer who has to deal with Britney Spears’ recording sessions, they both take trash and turn it into something that can be marketed and sold. TerraCycle calls what they’re doing “upcycling,” while Britney’s music producers probably like to describe what they do as “panning in a river of diarrhea for gold.”
Some examples of what TerraCycle has done include: Taking discarded Capri Sun drink pouches and turning them into backpacks, using old circuit boards to make picture frames, making pencils out of newspapers and creating pencil cases out of Chips Ahoy packages. One of the company’s latest products is their M&M’s Candy Wrapper Speakers, which they created with a company called Fashionation and can also be found made with potato chip bags.
According to the packaging, these speakers are made with up to 80 percent of recycled materials, which is a lot, but significantly less than what can be found on an album by the cover band Me First and the Gimme Gimmes. The speaker’s box is made out of a big M&M’s Fun Size package and cardboard that looks like it’s been made out of recycled paper. However, I’m not sure how much of the cables and speaker components are made out of reused metals and plastics.
The speakers fold into 3.25-inch cubes and can be unfolded flat again for easy storage and transportation, but I wouldn’t recommend doing it often because I found it difficult to reinsert the tabs into the slots needed to turn them into cubes. The uncooperative tabs and slots caused me to do a little digging, which caused me to accidental peel some of the M&M’s wrapper. When in cube form, they’re front-heavy, like Morganna The Kissing Bandit, so if you put them on an uneven surface, they might topple forward.
The speakers are attached to a standard 3.5 mm headphone plug, so you can connect it into your iPod, laptop, desktop computer or auto-reverse Walkman cassette player. Because the speakers don’t run on batteries, the plug also powers them.
If you’re an audiophile, or an audiophile poser, these candy wrapper speakers won’t come close to satisfying your hoity-toity tastes. They don’t come with a subwoofer made out of recycled candy wrappers and they aren’t very hi-fi, so they sound as good and treble-y as a cheap AM/FM radio alarm clock.
I connected them to my iPod and they have the ability to fill a small room, but in order to do so I had to turn up the volume on my iPod to at least 75 percent to get a decent amount of decibels, which can be a problem if you don’t remember to turn it down before you plug in your earbuds for some personal listening.
I thought the TerraCycle M&M’s Candy Wrapper Speakers would be a useless novelty, like glow-in-the-dark condoms. But they weren’t bad, considering they’re mostly made out of recycled candy wrappers and cost less than $20. At that price, I don’t feel bad if I have to destroy the speakers when a Britney Spears song comes out of them.
(NOTE: Below is a video demonstrating the speaker’s audio quality.)
Item: TerraCycle/Fashionation M&M’s Candy Wrapper Speakers
Purchased at: Radio Shack (or The Shack, if you want to be lame)
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: Decent sound for something made partly out of candy wrappers. Sound from them can fill a small room. Made from mostly recycled materials. Foldable and portable. No batteries required. Has a standard 3.5 mm headphone plug.
Cons: Not for audiophiles or audiophile posers. Can be difficult to repeatedly put together. May topple forward on uneven surfaces. Have to turn up the volume on your device in order to get a loud enough sound from the speakers. Using references that are older than some of your readers. Britney Spears.