TerraCycle Gives “Unrecyclables” New Life

Wondering how to responsibly dispose of cereal and chip bags, candy wrappers, make-up containers, and other single-use packaging items? Send them to TerraCycle!

Founded in 2001, TerraCycle offers national mail-in recycling programs for all kinds of hard-to-recycle plastic waste. The company helps “upcycle” some items like candy wrappers and juice pouches into stronger and longer-lasting incarnations, such as backpacks and kites. It also facilitates recycling of other hard-to-recycle plastics, such as chip bags and butter tubs, into bins, fencing, an more.

Individuals, schools, nonproffits, and community groups can visit Terracycle.com to sign up for one or more trash collection “brigades.” Each brigade focuses on a different kind of waste. Send your collected items to TerraCycle when you reach the minimum amount (5 – 100 items), using the company’s postage-paid mailers.

In most cases, Terracycle will donate two cents or two Terracycle points to the charity or school of your choice. Terracycle points can be exchanged for select charity-based gifts.

“Terracycle has always been about making recycling and resource conservation not a chore, but something we do because it’s fun and interactive and community-based,” says Albe Zakes, TerraCycle’s marketing director.

This article first appeared in the Green American in our Nov/Dec “Plastics Challenge” issue.  For more tips and resources greening your life, subscribe to the Green American.  
Our Jan/Feb issue about finding a better bank is headed to the printer right now.   >>

Categories: green business


  1. I wish we recycled. There is no pick up here but I suhlod definitely check into where I could drop off! My little brother came to visit and he was like, “Where is your recycling?” because they are big on recycling in his house! I guess I suhlod get with it!

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