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These groups recycle the "unrecyclable"

Words by Smiley Team

You might know the best way to recycle your household waste – but what happens when you come across packaging that is destined for the landfill? Well, don't assume it can't be recycled.

TerraCycle recycles "unrecyclable" products and packaging – the things councils don't collect to be recycled. They do this by partnering with household name brands who sponsor free recycling programmes for members of the public to sign up to.

Anyone can set up drop-off points on behalf of their entire communities for this waste to help them recycle more – including everyday waste like biscuit wrappers, crisp and snack packets, personal care waste, and home care products.

For each parcel of waste these drop-off points sent in, TerraCycle and their brand partners award a monetary donation to the charities, schools or non-profits of their choice. "Some members of the public have raised tens of thousands of pounds by sending their waste to us," they say. Here are two examples of that. 

The primary school enriching children's education

Claire Holmes, pastoral lead at Langafel CE Primary School, has raised more than £850 in donations to fund personalised resources that support the mental and social wellbeing of pupils by collecting “hard-to-recycle” waste at the school. Together with the school and local community, she has collected more than 111,294 units of waste. 

For each unit of waste collected, TerraCycle points are redeemed as monetary donations to the Friends of Langafel School (FOLs). The donations fund personalised resources bought to suit individual children’s requirements including games, books, puppets and toys. “Being able to raise extra funds to support this whilst recycling a whole host of waste that the local council can’t accept means that by dropping off your waste to our location, you’re not only doing something great for the environment, but our school community too,” said Claire. 

The collected waste she sends in to TerraCycle is recycled by shredding, cleaning and turning into a pellet format which can then be used by manufacturers to create new generic plastic products such as outdoor furniture, lumber and construction applications reducing the need to extract new resources from the planet.

The fancy dress shop supporting charity

Master of Disguise, an Isle of Wight fancy dress and film collectable shop, raised more than £1,500 for local charities including the Footprint Trust by collecting “unrecyclable” waste from the community. The waste collected ranged from writing instruments to confectionery and cheese wrappers, plastic toys and much more. This waste is not included in council kerbside recycling collections so has traditionally been destined for landfill or incineration.

Once dropped off at the shop, the waste was recycled by TerraCycle. For every unit of waste collected, TerraCycle points were redeemed as monetary donations to the Footprint Trust, a charity that specialises in helping the Isle of Wight community reduce their energy consumption, cutting emissions whilst helping those in fuel poverty to stay warm.

Co-owner of Master of Disguise, Lorraine, said: “As a business serving the community, we feel we have a responsibility to give everyone access to resources that help protect the planet and our island. TerraCycle’s programmes play an important role in this as they allow the community to recycle the items that the council doesn’t collect.”

Inspired to act?

GET INVOLVED: Do you want to become a recycling champion in your community? Find out more

RECYCLE MORE: Find out where local recycling collections are to you, to help reduce the amount going to landfill. 

This article aligns with the following UN SDGs

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