One company has made great strides in helping people move towards a zero-waste state: TerraCycle. This company single-handedly has helped me and thousands of other individuals and companies recycle the "unrecyclable," thereby reducing waste. I am now even a minority shareholder in the company.
So what is TerraCycle? TerraCycle was founded in 2001 by Tom Szaky when he was a freshman at Princeton University. TerraCycle’s original purpose was having worms process organic waste to turn it into fertilizer. In its very early years, TerraCycle even won a business contest and was offered a million-dollar prize payoff, but Szaky turned it down when he realized that his vision of a zero-waste world was not the same as his potential investors’.
TerraCycle recycles hard-to-recycle products (e.g. cosmetic containers, snack pouches, toothpaste tubes, razors, etc.) by partnering with companies and municipalities to create "brigades" of recyclers. Much of what TerraCycle helps recycle, repurpose, or upcycle typically gets put in a landfill or incinerated. TerraCycle even has found ways to repurpose some items that make most people say, “Yuck!” or “Really, they can do that?” That list includes diapers and cigarette butts.
They also sometimes have unique recycling opportunities, like this great one going on now with Walmart: Car seats
Some topics I plan to cover in upcoming blogs about TerraCycle are:
Free recycling programs
Recycling programs that cost money
TerraCycle’s newest program: Loop
Tom Szaky books
To give you additional insight into TerraCycle now, check out the following:
As you move along your journey to fully redefining waste, I hope that you will choose to incorporate TerraCycle into your waste reduction routine.