I am the kind of girl who is so keen on recycling that in my shared flat in Lyon, I was sorting my flatmates’ waste. And I found other people that were as crazy as I am about waste at TerraCycle, or less, maybe less crazy. And they are not all French, they come from all over Europe!
Name: PAN Alexandra
Department: Marketing and PR
Why did you want to be an intern at TerraCycle?
To be honest, before searching for green companies on Google, I had never heard of TerraCycle. But when I came across the TerraCycle (France) website, I was very impressed by the company. I didn’t know that this kind of green company existed: A company that is able to find a solution for any type of waste, and that is not only doing B2B, but also B2C. Zero Waste Boxes attracted me the most, because they were so different from one another and still, one company was able to handle them all.
Then I looked at the free recycling programmes (there are quite a few in France) and I was shocked to see that big companies (Materne, BIC, etc) were working with TerraCycle to find a solution for their waste. I have always believed that it was not fair that as a consumer, I felt guilty to buy a snack not for the fact that it is not healthy (snacks are good for mental health), but for the fact that it produces waste that would never be recycled… And it turns out that some big companies, like the biscuit company St Michel, was offering a solution to recycle their waste! I was so happy to learn this.
Last but not least, before applying for TerraCycle, I watched an episode of “Human Resources”, the TV show, about TerraCycle in the US. The team was so funny and the office was so random that I fell in love with the company! (Ask my siblings, they were fed up about it even before I started my internship)
So all in all, many different things affected my decision to apply for an internship.
What have you learned from your internship?
I would say that the first thing I learned from TerraCycle is to drastically reduce my waste. After a few weeks working at TerraCycle, I realized that I could not continue consuming the way I was. Sorting my waste was peanuts in comparison to all the things I could do for the environment. And since I was working with social media, I had to find relevant articles, videos, and facts about waste management. So through my research, I found interesting testimonials and eco-friendly alternatives to products that were not recycled in the traditional waste system. So I decided to buy those products instead of what I used to buy and to buy less things in general.
Professionally, I also learned a lot. It was my first internship, so I did not know what to expect. I learnt to be patient, because your manager or your colleagues are working on many other projects at the same time, so you cannot expect them to reply to your email within an hour. I also realized that it was important to be careful with all the emails I was sending or the comments and posts I was publishing on Social Media.
Another thing I discovered was that we could have a lot of fun in a company, while still being productive. I really liked the moments in the day when suddenly, you heard someone opening his drawer or someone charging his nerf gun. And you knew, that there would soon be a shooting. And after the short shooting, everything would go back to normal, everyone would focus on work again, as if nothing had happened.
I also really liked the fact that we come from different European countries and so, we could switch from one language to another. Our company embodies perfectly the diversity of London in that sense.
What is your favourite thing about the TerraCycle office?
I would say the two floors, because every morning I get to do some exercise: In total I think that I climb the stairs at least 6 times (there must be more than 30 steps). Imagine how fit I was at the end of my internship!
What is your best advice for future, aspiring TerraCycle interns?
One single advice would be: Show them that you are good at making coffee! No, I’m joking. What I would say is that if you are truly interested in eco-friendly businesses, this is definitely THE place to be. So look at the TerraCycle website to know what we are doing. And then, if you get an interview just be yourself, be passionate, show them the part of you that wants to change the world!