Recycling the Unrecyclable- The TerraCycle Solution
TerraCycle is the world leader in collecting and repurposing waste. The company has repurposed over 7 billion units of waste over the past 20 years.
Everything we throw away can be repurposed into something new – from candy wrappers to plastic bags to dirty diapers. We don’t see many (if any) of these materials being repurposed because most recycling companies don’t find value in transforming them. If the cost of collecting and processing the waste is higher than the resulting raw material, recycling companies will not make an effort. This is where Terracycle comes in.
TerraCycle recycles hard-to-recycle products because they work with brands, retailers and other stakeholders who fund the recycling process. The company started eliminating waste by creating worm food plant food from leftover cafeteria waste. The company then began to collect and convert “unrecyclable” products such as drink pouches and yogurt cups which they transformed into pencil cases and bags.
From there, TerraCycle launched its Zero Waste Box, which makes it possible to recycle things that are not accepted through local curbside recycling services. Customers can choose boxes ranging from beauty products, candy and snack wrappers, pet packaging, and much more. Once the boxes are full, they can be returned to TerraCycle, and the company will take care of the rest.
A lot of research and development goes into how to transform the materials. This includes breaking down the waste, separating it, and then recycling and transforming the materials. After the materials are transformed, cleaned, sorted and processed, they are sold to manufacturing companies who produce the end product. TerraCycle has successfully created end products, including outdoor furniture, flooring tiles, athletic fields, etc. Much of the plastic waste they collect, such as Styrofoam, medicine blister packaging, and plastic from disposable razors, is mixed with other plastics to make recycled plastic blends.
Recently, the company created Loop, a platform for reuse that allows any brand to create reusable versions of their product packaging. It also allows any retailer to make those products available to their consumers and eliminate the need for single-use products.
TerraCycle provides a 100% circular economy that allows materials to be used to their full capacity. The company is committed to keeping waste out of landfills. Using recyclable materials reduces the need for virgin natural resources to be extracted. And at the end of their life, these reused products can be sent directly back to TerraCycle.
TerraCycle has been revolutionizing how we recycle waste for over 20 years. Since they started in 2003, over 7 billion units of waste have been recycled, and over 200 million people are collecting waste. The company is committed to doing what traditional recycling companies see no value in. By taking the time to recycle the unrecyclable, TerraCycle has become the world leader in collecting and repurposing complex waste streams.