Waste is one of the major concerns plaguing the world right now. As human society continues to produce 3.5 million tons of plastic and other waste materials every single day, the day is not far when our natural resources would be submerged in the vicious trap of trash. The mantra “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” has been buzzing in the air for a while, but little action has been taken to implement this vision. In an earnest attempt to transition to a greener world, TerraCycle recycles waste products to create something meaningful out of them.
TerraCycle: About the Company
TerraCycle is a waste management company based in the United States, founded by Tom Szaky and Jon Beyer. With a primary focus on reducing waste, they have revolutionized the idea of recycling. Headquartered in Trenton, New Jersey, this company operates a volunteer-based community system to collect waste from multiple sources and transforms it into useful materials.
The idea behind the company is to address the raging issue of non-recyclable waste. After collecting the pre-consumer and post-consumer waste materials, TerraCycle joins hands with municipalities and leading corporate houses to recycle the apparently non-recyclable products. With an aim of “Eliminating the Idea of Waste”®, this company has devised certain solutions to combat the issue.
TerraCycle, in collaboration with various manufacturers, has created around 200 products out of waste. They started with producing vermicompost fertilizer and began selling them in recycled plastic bottles. Then they transformed the remaining garbage collected from the vats into potting soil for plants.
National Recycling Programs
TerraCycle has set up unique recycling programs that allow more and more people to participate in this drive. A certain group of people collect the specified waste materials, and send them over to the company, with the shipping charges paid by a sponsor. The waste is then turned into new materials. Since plastic products cannot be upcycled, they are recycled to be used in different industries, such as making plastic pavers, bike racks, garbage cans, and so on.
The Bulb Eater®
The Bulb Eater® is a unique creation by the company that consumes and crushes old bulbs. This one works for all fluorescent bulbs and CFLs. By crushing these waste products, the machine turns it into 100% recyclable materials in a cost-effective procedure. The system unit has a dust filter attached to it. Thanks to the H.E.P.A. filter and the activated carbon filter, the mercury vapor released from the destruction of the lamps is effectively captured and neutralized.
With this highly effective system, it takes only 1 second to crush down a 4-foot fluorescent lamp. At present, there are around 10,000 of these machines working at various factories all across the globe.
To start with the process, first, lamps are segregated into 3 sections– metal, mercury, and glass. After removing the traces of mercury, the bulbs are used for making recycled products. The phosphor powder is made into pure mercury and phosphor powder for future use.
Zero Waste Boxes
If you wish to contribute to a positive change in the world, you can get the Zero Waste Boxes from TerraCycle. There are different boxes available for catering to different types of waste. The instructions clearly mention all the items that are not allowed inside the box. All you have to do is order a box, fill it up with the specific type of garbage, and send it back to the company with the prepaid return label.
Check them out here.
Cigarette Waste Recycling
Cigarette butts contribute to a large amount of waste accumulated every single year. To counter this situation, TerraCycle has collaborated with Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Company. With the help of this initiative, tobacco waste goes into making useful products in various industries. Some are used for creating plastic pallets, and the rest goes into making compost.
TerraCycle: Pros & Cons
Sustainable solutions like the ones offered by TerraCycle are taking small steps towards alleviating waste from the world. Their services have been designed to transform the process of trash production and contribute to the creation of new materials through recycling. But just like all other solutions, these too have a number of advantages and disadvantages.
- Utilizes products that are very difficult to recycle
- Creates public awareness and involves an entire community of volunteers who collect the waste materials
- Promotes reused goods
- Makes use of waste for creating raw materials for industries
- Offers a cost-effective way of upcycling and recycling
- The company collects a small amount of waste, as compared to the large amount of garbage produced in the U.S.
- You cannot recycle TerraCycle products
It’s time for us to actively take steps and change our habits accordingly so that we can minimize waste production. In a world that is moving an inch closer to the dead end every single day, the initiatives taken by TerraCycle are certainly a welcome move. However, the solution requires expansion to different kinds of waste materials, so that a large amount of garbage can be recycled, reducing the burden on the planet.
The present scenario, in the recycling industry, looks quite grim. There are not many companies working towards building a sustainable future, rather they are contributing towards the never-ending loop of waste production. We need more initiatives like TerraCycle to combat this issue. The blend of innovation, technology, and willing participation of people from various states have made it possible for the company to spread its wings. As responsible citizens of the world, it’s up to us to make our future bright and green, and TerraCycle is one major milestone in that direction.
If you wish to know more about the company, or you want to implement the solutions offered by Terra Cycle for yourself, here are the contact details of the company.
Address: 1 TerraCycle Way, Trenton, New Jersey 08638, US