I was today years old when I discovered TerraCycle. It blew my mind to see the types of objects that this company can help you recycle. They even pair up with major companies to make it possible! Whoops, I’m getting ahead of myself…
Many of us get the phrase ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’ drilled into our heads from a young age. Somehow, only the recycle part seems to stick. But recycling is NOT the answer to the waste problem. The phrase is incomplete.
BEFORE You Recycle…
- Replace single-use plastics with reusable materials.
- Borrow and share items when possible. For example, how often do you and your neighbor mow the lawn at the same time? Why do you both need a lawnmower when you can share one and save money? Luckily, libraries, where you can borrow various items, are gaining popularity.
- Reduce the amount of environmentally unfriendly items in your life.
- Reuse items as much as possible within reason. Did you know that it’s unsafe to reuse single-use water bottles as bottles? The plastic leaks into the water. The more you use it, the more the plastic breaks down. But you can reuse them in other ways!
- Repurpose everything when possible. A detergent bottle can become a planter. Let your imagination go wild!
- Repair broken items instead of buying new ones. Patch up clothes, fix your technology, tape up storage containers. If you’re lucky, you may even live somewhere with regular events where people come together and help each other repair their old items.
- Donate whatever you no longer need. Ask around, post in sell nothing groups, and ask your family and friends. Just because you don’t need it doesn’t mean that it’s useless. Giving away or even selling an item gives it a second chance at life.
Okay, maybe now, we can finally get to recycling. But I’m positive that we could add a few more items to the ‘before you recycle’ list. The bottom line is that recycling should be the last resort. It is not great for the environment to recycle, but it is better than throwing it away.
“TerraCycle® is a social enterprise Eliminating the Idea of Waste®. In 21 countries, we tackle the issue from many angles. We have found that nearly everything we touch can be recycled and collect typically non-recyclable items through national, first-of-their-kind recycling platforms.
Leading companies work with us to take hard-to-recycle materials from our programs, such as ocean plastic, and turn them into new products. Our new Loop platform aims to change the way the world shops with favorite brands in refillable packaging offered with convenience and style.
With your help, we’ve diverted millions of pounds of valuable resources from landfills all over the world, and we’re just getting started.
Recycle Everything using the search bar above and tell us what you want to recycle.”About TerraCycle
The Sad Reality of Recycling
I can remember coming home from school and freaking out that my parents weren’t recycling. Within a month, my excitement had infected my father, who began doing everything he could. I felt like I was making a real difference and even started school programs to help educate others. It wasn’t until I moved to Shanghai that I realized I was merely scratching the surface.
China is terrible about single-use plastic, and people throw plastic bottles out of their cars when they are empty. Various groups try to tackle the problem, including Precious Plastics. I was so excited to join until they broke my heart by explaining that you can’t even recycle most types of plastics. I felt like people had lied to me my entire life.
Now that I live in America, it is almost as bad as Shanghai. Not only are people addicted to the efficiency of plastic, but the state I live in, Rhode Island, doesn’t even recycle glass. Also, many places in America throw recyclables in the dump, but they continue the ruse in hopes that recycling becomes possible in the future.
Even if all that wasn’t the case, it seems like most items that we use cannot be recycled: contact lenses, toothpaste tubes, razor blades, markers. The list seems endless. This is why we should focus on finding alternative solutions. But even if I get chewable toothpaste tabs, there IS no green alternative for contact lenses (glasses don’t count.)
TerraCycle Recycles EVERYTHING
I often hear people say that they are powerless when it comes to making greener choices. I agree that companies should be the ones to make greener packaging, etc. However, I still argue that you can bring a reusable bag to the store at the very least. Anyway, TerraCycle is excellent because they go directly to companies to organize recycling for unusual items.
TerraCycle and Gillette® have partnered to make razors recyclable nationwide for the first time. Gillette® is also the producer of Venus razors, but this program isn’t brand exclusive. This program recycles any razor and its packing.
Too Good to Be True?
When I first discovered TerraCycle, I thought it all sounded too good to be true. So what’s the catch? After digging around, I found that the only catch is cost. To participate in TerraCycle’s programs, you generally need to sign up, buy a box and receive a shipping label. When you fill the box, you then ship it to the designated location. Depending on what you are recycling, this can be costly.
Of course, any price is worth helping our planet, but it doesn’t seem reasonable for individual families. This is why I’m trying to get the community involved. Getting your employer, school, etc., involved to split the costs is the way to go.
Not only will more people learn about the program, but you can all have a drop-off point for these hard to recycle items. This way you don’t need to keep the collection bins at home.
TerraCycle is helping the world become greener with its various programs. It also helps educate people and share sustainable companies as well as greener products. While recycling unusual items comes at a cost, there is no price too high to save our planet. Consider looking into TerraCycle today and be the difference you want to see!