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More free options from TerraCycle

In a prior post about TerraCycle, I explored the partnership between Subaru and TerraCycle that allows for a number of items to be recycled for free. In addition to that free program, TerraCycle has many other programs that allow you to send them hard-to-recycle items at no charge, including shipping costs. There are all kinds of free recycling programs, but here are a few samples:

  • Drink pouches

  • Razors

  • Contact lenses

  • Plastic waste from beaches

  • Hasbro toys

For a full list of free programs, click here:

Some programs are full, meaning they already have the maximum number of participants allowed. You can always sign up to be on the waiting list. TerraCycle is adding programs all of the time. I get notified via email each time they add one and have been notified about several new ones just in the last few months, including one for PopSockets just the other day.

I have been actively participating in two of these programs for several years now: Personal Care and Beauty, and Tom’s of Maine Natural Care.

The Personal Care and Beauty Program allows me to send:

  • Cosmetic packaging: lipstick cases, lip gloss tubes, mascara tubes, eye shadow cases, bronzer cases, foundation packaging, powder cases, eyeliner cases, eyeliner pencils, eye shadow tubes, concealer tubes, concealer sticks, and lip liner pencils.

  • Skin care packaging: lip balm tubes and caps, soap dispensers and tubes, body wash caps, lotion dispensers and caps. 

  • Hair care packaging: shampoo caps, conditioner caps, hair gel tubes, and caps, hair spray triggers, and hair paste caps.

The Tom’s of Maine Natural Care Program allows me to send:

  • Mouthwash bottles and caps, toothbrushes, deodorant containers and caps, soap packaging, floss containers, and toothpaste tubes and caps. (Any brand, not just Tom’s of Maine, is acceptable)

Here is how it all works. Once you are enrolled in a program and have created a TerraCycle account, you gather the acceptable waste for that program. I have a couple of bins in the garage where I store the items for the programs in which I participate. Some of the programs do have a minimum amount you need to collect before you ship. 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.

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 variety of charitable gifts or a payment of $.01 per point to the non-profit organization or school of your choice. You can learn more about the points program here:

While the ultimate goal is to be using less items that require packaging, this recycling service TerraCycle offers plays a valuable role in getting closer to a zero-waste state and is worth exploring.

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