What is a Zero Waste Box and how is it different to the Free Recycling Programmes?

At TerraCycle we offer two main recycling solutions for people and companies based in the UK; Free Recycling Programmes and Zero Waste Boxes. Which recycling solution is best for me? What are the differences between them? Recycling can be confusing so we’ve written a short blog article to give you the key information to help you find the best recycling solution for you!

To start with, let’s first cover what we mean by a Free Recycling Programme. The Free Recycling Programmes are funded by brands, manufacturers, and retailers 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. To read more about what Free Recycling Programmes are, please click here, and to see the full list of programmes we offer, please click here.

You do not need to purchase a Zero Waste Box if you are signed up to a Free Recycling Programme. Zero Waste Box is a product and recycling service, completely separate to the Free Recycling Programmes. Zero Waste Boxes provide solutions for difficult-to-recycle waste that cannot be recycled through your local council or traditional recycling companies. A Zero Waste Box is a solution for when we don’t have a Free Recycling Programme for a particular type of waste.

Zero Waste Boxes can be used anywhere; at home, the office, community spaces, events and more!

A consumer can purchase a Zero Waste Box online in either small, medium or large sizes. A Zero Waste Box has to be purchased because the price consists of the recycling process and transport cost. Once ordered online, the box is delivered by UPS and arrives flat packed. Simply open the Zero Waste Box and stand it up-right; it’s then ready for you to start putting waste in it! Once the box is full, call UPS to collect it (for free) and then we’ll recycle the contents! If you would like to recycle more waste after a Zero Waste Box has been collected by UPS, a new Zero Waste Box would need to be purchased.

So, how is Zero Waste Box different to the Free Recycling Programmes?

1. The types of waste that can be recycled

The list of Free Recycling Programmes continue to grow as companies partner with us to recycle more and more material! But did you know Zero Waste Boxes cover more waste streams than the Free Recycling Programmes? We can recycle glasses, lawn decorations, sweet wrappers, plastic food packaging, VHS tapes, hair nets, cereal packaging, flip flops and more! If you can think of it, we probably have a Zero Waste Box for it! To take a look at the full range of Zero Waste Boxes we provide, please click here.

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2. The price

The clue is in the title! There is no cost for the consumer to participate in the Free Recycling Programme because a brand (or multiple) has sponsored the recycling of a waste stream and therefore the cost is borne by the brand.

However, for waste categories that are not included in our Free Recycling Programmes, Zero Waste Boxes enable members of the public and businesses to recycle these types of waste, which would have otherwise been incinerated or sent to landfill. But it does mean that consumers will then bear the recycling cost. To find out more about why Zero Waste Boxes cost money, please click here.

3. The recycling box – Collection Box vs Zero Waste Box?

In some Free Recycling Programmes, a branded cardboard box, known as a collection box, is provided to public drop-off locations and it is used to contain waste. The public drop-off location administrator then empties the box and uses a regular cardboard box to send us the waste.

Whereas with a Zero Waste Box, the cardboard box itself is the product and the accompanying service is the collection and recycling of the waste. The waste is put in the Zero Waste Box and when it is full, the consumer seals the box and it is collected by UPS (a UPS label is already attached to the box).


4. How to get involved and start recycling!

To get started and get a Zero Waste Box, please click here. Simply choose the waste category you’d like to recycle, purchase your preferred box size, collect your waste, and send it to TerraCycle to be repurposed (shipping is included).

Unlike Free Recycling Programmes, you do not need to join a programme or create a TerraCycle account. All purchases are made through the Zero Waste Box website and there is no limit to how many Zero Waste Boxes you can buy! To find out more about how you can get involved in the Free Recycling Programmes, please read this short, step-by-step guide here.

We hope this article has helped clear any confusion and has helped you decide what recycling solutions are best for you! To contact a Zero Waste Box Representative and find out more about Zero Waste Boxes, please send an email to zerowasteboxes@terracycle.co.uk

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