Frequent readers of this blog will know that I greatly admire TerraCycle, a company that strives to recycle everything. I did provide information about TerraCycle’s free recycling programs several years ago, but I was recently encouraged by the number of new options they provide. There are currently over 120 free programs with no waiting list, with more offered that are currently full. The programs range from collection of packaging to small appliances, from oral care products to inflatables.
Most of the free programs will only accept brands that are sponsored by the company partnering with TerraCycle to take back the items. For example, Burt’s Bees will only take their products, but they do accept dozens of their items. On the other hand, carter’s, the children's clothing company, will take back any brand of kids clothing, and Gilette® will take all brands of blades, razors, and plastic packaging.
Some of the programs have drop-off locations where you can take the items, but just about all of them have the option to ship directly to TerraCycle.
The process of sending items is fairly straightforward. Once you are enrolled in a program and have created a TerraCycle account, you gather the acceptable waste for that program. You then request online a shipping label from TerraCycle, print it, and then put it on the box or packaging that you plan to use to send the items you have collected. Then bring the box to a local shipping store to send to TerraCycle at no cost to you.
In addition to being able to do this for free, TerraCycle will even give you points for each eligible shipment. The points can be redeemed for a donation to your school, favorite non-profit organization, or the charity of your choice. You can learn more about the points program here: https://www.terracycle.com/en-US/redeem
While the ultimate goal is to be using less items that require packaging, this free recycling service TerraCycle offers plays a valuable role in getting closer to a zero-waste state and is worth exploring.