I was watching a video where Beth Terry talks to her husband, Michael, about living plastic free and he mentioned something about sending the energy bar wrappers to Terracycle. He also mentioned that Terracycle would convert the wrappers into bags which are subsequently sold to the public.
That seemed very interesting so I did some research about Terracycle. It’s almost bedtime but I decided that I was going to sign up and see what this is about. From my understanding, you need to sign up for a collection program (also known as a Brigade). The Brigade will tell you specifically what you will need to collect. For example, there is a Glad Food Storage Brigade, Nespresso Capsule Brigade, Personal Care and Beauty Brigade etc. Before you start collecting, you will need to join the Brigade. You will not be able to join the Brigade automatically. Instead, you will be put on a waitlist and when there is a spot, they will email you. I suppose, once you get the email, you will need to collect the items and mail it to them. They may send you a shipping label and you can just stick it on your box and drop it off. However, you will need to send x amount in weight before you get Terracycle points. The points in turn can be used for charity. If you do not send in the x amount in weight, you will not received Terracycle points. I personally don’t care about the points. I like to know that someone is going to take the stuff that I would usually throw and turn it into something else.
Based on my first impression, Terracycle’s target audience are schools or businesses which consumes certain products. For example, schools may have hundreds of students drinking from pouches. They can easily generate tons of the drinking pouches to be recycled. In a household of 2, how many personal care and beauty products do we go through a month? Since I’m on a mission to stop buying things with plastic packaging, it will probably take me forever to fill up a box with packaging for personal care and beauty products. By the time I fill up the box, the Brigade may be closed. For example, the Naked Grape Cork Brigade ends on December 31, 2015.
My initial reaction was that Terracycle is not for me. When I wrote to Terracycle, they told me that I can easily participate in their program. Essentially, I need to collect stuff based on a particular Brigade, I just need to email them when I’m ready to send off my collection and they will send me a shipping label. That seems doable.
Currently, I have a collection of corks sitting around the kitchen. Initially, I saved the corks to make a notice board using the corks. Since that project is done, I have extra corks remaining. I told them about the corks and they sent me a shipping label for the Naked Grape Cork Brigade. I just put all the corks in a box and mailed it to them. That was easy.
I have now planned to line different boxes to collect different items. Once the boxes are filled, I will email them for shipping labels so they can do something with it. Hopefully they notify me when the Brigade closes so I can send everything in before it closes.