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Recycling the "unrecyclable"

I have reviewed TerraCycle’s partnership with Subaru and TerraCycle’s free recycling programs in recent posts. Perhaps my favorite programs TerraCycle offers are the zero-waste programs, although there is a cost involved. I like zero-waste boxes because it is an easy way to get rid of harder-to-recycle items that would ordinarily have be to put in a landfill. There are a variety of zero-waste offerings, but here are a few:


  • Athletic balls

  • Automotive parts

  • Baby gear

  • Disposable gloves

  • Incandescent light bulbs

  • Party decorations


I am not sure if there is anything TerraCycle can’t recycle, and that list includes cigarette butts and diapers. Yes, diapers. Anyone who has had kids and uses disposable diapers knows how quickly they fill up the trash.


My favorite zero-waste box is the all-in-one box. Essentially, once I have exhausted all of my waste reduction techniques, I am left with a bunch of “unrecyclable items.” I utilize the all-in-one box for these items, which allows me to get pretty close to having no waste. I like it because I can put virtually anything in it and I don’t need separate anything, unlike other zero-waste boxes. For example, I use it for the following items that are not easily recyclable:


  • Packaging from any food, like the wrapping from a bottle of dressing or the bag containing pre-washed spinach

  • Aluminum/metal-related objects (pie pans, breath-mint boxes, bottle caps, etc.)

  • Any type of plastic (caps, pre-packaged food containers, used gift cards, etc.)

  • Plastic mesh bags from onions, lemons, limes, clementines, etc.


I order just one large box each year. TerraCycle is always running discounts on their zero-waste boxes, with savings usually from 15% - 30% off the list price. Once you have created a TerraCycle account, you will get emails notifying you of the promotions.


All of the zero-waste programs operate similarly in that once a box is ordered and delivered, it can be filled with hard-to-recycle items and then returned to TerraCycle. The return shipping cost to TerraCycle is included in the cost of the box.


While paying beyond what we already pay for waste removal may seem extreme, those who want to make a serious move toward zero waste should consider utilizing TerraCycle’s zero-waste boxes.

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