The Beginners Guide to Recycling with TerraCycle

Interested in finding out what we do and how you can participate in our free recycling programmes? You have come to the right place! In this blog article, we provide you with a short but comprehensive guide for beginners outlining how you can recycle with TerraCycle.

What is TerraCycle?

We are a recycling company that specialises in recycling typically hard-to-recycle waste which is not processed by local councils, such as cigarette butts, wrappers and cosmetic product packaging (find out more about us here).

What do TerraCycle do?

We strive to eliminate the idea of waste by offering a range of free national recycling programmes that are funded by brands, as well as recycling solutions, known as Zero Waste Boxes, available for purchase for almost every form of waste! Alongside this, we also offer large-scale recycling for organisations. We reuse, upcycle and recycle the waste instead of incinerating or landfilling it. This moves waste from a linear system to a circular one, allowing it to keep cycling in our economy.

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How do the free recycling programmes work?

The free recycling programmes are funded by brands, manufacturers, and retailers around the world to help you collect and recycle your hard-to-recycle waste. Simply choose the programmes you’d like to join on our website; start collecting in your home, school, or office; then either take the waste to drop-off locations or download free shipping labels to send us your waste in a parcel to be recycled. You can even earn points and redeem them for donations for your school or favourite non-profit when your waste meets the minimum shipment weight requirement!

Who can participate?

Anyone living in the UK can participate in our free recycling programmes by bringing waste to an existing drop off location (these locations can be found on the programme pages that are linked further down the article) but if you want to get the full benefits of recycling with TerraCycle, we encourage you to create an account and sign up for the programme.

To become a collector and get started, please click ‘CREATE AN ACCOUNT‘ on our website to register. Once you have filled out your registration details, you’re ready to join the free recycling programmes!

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How do I join a free recycling programme?

You can join the programmes by clicking on the links to the free recycling programmes below and clicking ‘SIGN UP NOW’ when you have signed in to the website. You can choose to be a private or public collector. Public collectors have their collection point location visible on the collection point maps so it allows other members of the general public to drop-off their waste. If you would like to find out how to become a public collector, please click here.

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What free recycling programmes do TerraCycle offer in the UK?

Currently open for individuals, schools or organisations to join:

Open only for private collectors who set up a public drop-off location (public drop-off locations only):

Open only to schools:

We also run the following programme which doesn’t currently have spaces for new members. You can take part by finding your nearest drop off points via the maps on each programme page to take your waste to (the drop-off point administrator’s charity of choice will benefit from the charity donations):

We also offer a few other programmes which work slightly differently to the programmes mentioned above. For a full list of all the programmes we offer, click here.

What do I do with the waste I collect?

Once accepted onto a programme you are able to download free postage labels (linked to your account). Attach it to a parcel or cardboard box (you can find them at stationary stores or post offices) and book a collection with UPS over the phone (03457 877 877) or online to send your waste to us. Members of the general public who do not have an account can drop-off waste at public drop off locations. If you have collected waste for a programme with public drop-off locations only, please click on the interactive map on the programme page to find your nearest collection point and simply drop it off there during the opening hours.

ao2What do I get in return for sending TerraCycle waste?

The more waste we receive, the greater the rewards you earn! For the weight of each piece of waste you send back, provided your shipment meets the minimum requirement, we will credit TerraCycle points to your account, which can be redeemed towards a charitable gift or for a monetary contribution to your favourite charity or school. Each point is equivalent to 1 pence. If the weight is below the minimum, we will still recycle the material but will not award points. Please note if you drop off your waste to a public collection point, the administrator for that location will be awarded the points.

How do the charities get paid?

The sponsorship from brands provides a charity contribution for every item of waste collected in the community. Each participant in one of our collection programmes decides which charity they would like to collect for. TerraCycle makes payments to the chosen charities twice a year – at the end of December and at the end of June. All the contributions collected by all the users for any given charity are pooled into one joint payment.

What happens to the waste if it’s recycled by TerraCycle?

When we recycle the waste we receive, it is cleaned before it is divided and turned into pellets at a processing plant. At this stage, the pellets can then be moulded into new products like watering cans, park benches, table tops and signage. Take a look at this video which takes you through the recycling process here.  You can purchase the products we make here.

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Still have questions? Please take a look at our website first. If you would like to speak to a TerraCycle representative, please call us at our free phone number 0800 0470 984 or send us an email at customersupport@terracycle.co.uk. Don’t forget to follow us on our social media!

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