A beginners guide to recycling with TerraCycle

Interested in finding out what we do and how you can participate in our free recycling programs? You have come to the right place! 

Here’s a short but comprehensive guide outlining how you can recycle with TerraCycle.

What is TerraCycle?

We are a recycling company that specialises in recycling typically hard-to-recycle waste which is not processed by local councils, such as cigarette butts, toothpaste tubes and cosmetic product packaging.

What do TerraCycle do?

We strive to eliminate the idea of waste by offering a range of free national recycling programs that are funded by brands, as well as recycling solutions, known as Zero Waste Boxes, available for purchase for almost every form of waste! Currently Zero Waste Boxes are only available in Australia, but we hope to bring them to New Zealand soon.

Alongside this, we also offer large-scale recycling for organisations.

We reuse, upcycle and recycle the waste instead of incinerating or landfilling it. This moves waste from a linear system to a circular one, allowing it to keep cycling in our economy.

How do the free recycling programs work?

The free recycling programs are funded by brands, manufacturers, and retailers around the world to help you collect and recycle your hard-to-recycle waste. Simply choose the programs you’d like to join on our Australian or New Zealand websites, 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. You can even earn points and redeem them for donations for your school or favourite non-profit when your waste meets the minimum shipment weight requirement.

Who can participate?

If you’re in Australia

To become a collector and get started, please click ‘Sign up‘ on our website to register. Once you have filled out your registration details, you’re ready to join the free recycling programs!

If you’re in New Zealand

To become a collector and get started, please click ‘Sign up‘ on our website to register. Once you have filled out your registration details, you’re ready to join the free recycling programmes!

Even if you haven’t signed up for a program you can still recycle your waste through a Community Collection Hub (these locations can be found on the program pages that are linked further down the article).

How do I join a free recycling programme?

Once you have signed into the website, you can join the programs by going to the program page and clicking ‘SIGN UP NOW’. You can choose to be a private collector or a Community Collection Hub. 

Community Collection Hubs have their collection point location visible on the collection point maps so it allows other members of the general public to drop-off their waste. Find out more about becoming a Community Collection Hub.

What free recycling programs do TerraCycle offer in Australia and New Zealand?

You can find the full list of programs we offer in Australia here, and in New Zealand here.

Please be aware some programs do not currently have spaces for new members. But good news: you can still take part by finding your nearest Community Collection Hub via the maps on each program page to take your waste to (the Community Collection Hub’s administrator’s charity of choice will benefit from the charity donations).

What do I do with the waste I collect?

Once accepted into a program, you are then able to download free postage label (linked to your account). Attach it to a parcel or cardboard box in which you have collected your waste (we recommend recycling boxes you already have at home) and take it to the post office to send your waste to us. 

If you have collected waste for a program that is only available through a Community Collection Hub, please click on the interactive map on the program page to find your nearest Hub and simply drop it off there during the opening hours.

People who do not have an account can drop-off waste at a Community Collection Hub. To search for your nearest Hub head to this page on our website (for Australia).

For New Zealand, please head here.

What do I get in return for sending TerraCycle waste?

The more waste we receive, the greater the rewards you earn! For the weight of each piece of waste you send back, provided your shipment meets the minimum requirement, we will credit TerraCycle points to your account, which can be redeemed towards a charitable gift or for a monetary contribution to your favourite charity or school. If the weight is below the minimum, we will still recycle the material but will not award points. Please note if you drop off your waste to a Community Collection Hub, the administrator for that location will be awarded the points.

How do the charities get paid?

The sponsorship from brands provides a charity contribution for every item of waste collected in the community. Each participant in one of our collection programs decides which charity they would like to collect for. TerraCycle makes payments to the chosen charities twice a year – at the end of December and at the end of June. All the contributions collected by all the users for any given charity are pooled into one joint payment.

What happens to the waste if it’s recycled by TerraCycle?

When we recycle the waste we receive, it is cleaned before it is divided and turned into pellets at a processing plant. At this stage, the pellets can then be moulded into new products like watering cans, park benches, table tops and signage. Take a look at this video which takes you through the recycling process here

Still have questions? Please take a look at our Australian or New Zealand websites first. If you would like to speak to a TerraCycle representative, please call us at our free phone number 1800 983 324 (Australia) or 0800 474 016 (New Zealand) or send us an email at customersupport@terracycle.com.

And don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn!

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