The ins and outs of recycling are tricky for everyone, even for those who work within the waste and recycling industry. To help you understand how to make the most of our free recycling programs, we’ve put together a list of our most frequently asked questions. If there’s anything you’re still unsure about, please don’t hesitate to contact our friendly customer support team.
How do your free recycling programs work?
Across both Australia and New Zealand, TerraCycle operates 36 national recycling programs for items that would otherwise be destined for landfill. To help us prevent these items from entering the environment, clogging landfills and polluting oceans, we need as many collectors as possible. Whether you’re a school teacher, a student, a small business owner, or a community leader, we welcome waste warriors from all walks of life.
Before you start collecting any items, we ask that you complete the following steps first:
- Sign up to a TerraCycle account:
Head to www.terracycle.com and make sure your country flag is displayed on the top right of the home page. If it’s showing the wrong country and flag, simply click to change it to the right one. This will enable you to sign up to the programs available in your area. Once you’ve selected the correct country, you’ll then need to click ‘Sign Up’, follow the prompts and fill out your details. You need to be 18 years of age to sign up for a TerraCycle account.
- Join the programs you want to participate in:
After making a TerraCycle account, you’ll then be able to join as many of the free recycling programs as you wish. Simply visit the page that lists all the programs available in your country and click on the ones you wish to join. You’ll see a ‘Join Program for Free’ button on each program page followed by program specifics such as accepted waste, minimum shipment sizes and whether you’ll qualify for TerraCycle points by sending in items through this program.
- Wait to be accepted in a program if you’re placed on a waitlist:
Due to their popularity, a few of our free recycling programs have reached their full capacity. This means that when you join these programs, you’ll be placed on a waitlist until there are more spaces available. Unfortunately, we aren’t able to estimate how long you’ll have to wait before being added to a program because the decision ultimately lies with the brand partner who sponsors the program.
We ask that you remain patient while we work with the brand to make more spots available. Some of the programs that are waitlisted allow collectors who sign up as a Community Collection Hub and accept public donations of waste from people in their area to be fast tracked into the program. If this is something you are interested in, we recommend reaching out to our customer support team for more information first.
- Set up your recycling station:
Once you’ve been accepted into the program(s) you wish to collect for, the next step is to set up your recycling station. Whether you’re a private collector or collecting on behalf of the community, we encourage you to make the most of the resources and support available to you.
Down the bottom of each program page, you’ll find a range of downloadable posters, FAQs, and flyers to help you maximise your collection. We recommend attaching the program’s accepted waste poster to your collection bin so it’s clear which items are able to be recycled through the program. If you’re setting up a Community Collection Hub, you can find a range of resources to help you get started here. In the spirit of zero waste, we encourage you to reuse a cardboard box as we do not provide you with bins for your collections.
How do I get a free shipping label?
After following the steps above, you’ll now be able to request a free shipping label to post back your items for recycling. All you need to do is:
- log in to your TerraCycle account at www.terracycle.com.
- Go to your profile and click the bright green button that says “Send us Your Waste”.
- Scroll down and you will see the list of free recycling programs that you are currently registered for.
- Find the program you wish to send in a shipment for and click on “Get Shipping Label”.
- The label will then be sent to your email address as a PDF. You can then print it out and attach it to your box of recycling.
- To send us your shipment, simply drop it off at your nearest post office.
What are my options if a program is waitlisted?
As mentioned above, some of our programs have reached their full capacity and if you try to join them, you’ll be added to a waitlist. In the meantime, here’s a list of additional ways you can recycle your items through TerraCycle:
- Community Collection Hubs
Please do use our network of Community Collection Hubs and see if there’s a location nearby who accepts the waste stream you wish to recycle. Simply type in your suburb or postcode and select the maximum search area you’re willing to travel to. Don’t forget to also select the specific waste stream you want to recycle. Some locations accept several waste streams so be sure to check. We also recommend calling the Hub first to find out the best time to drop off waste and if any of their details have changed.
TerraCycle and BiC have partnered with Officeworks to make it easy to recycle all your used writing equipment across Australia. To find out which items your local Officeworks store accepts for e-waste recycling, printer cartridge recycling, battery recycling, pen recycling and more, head to the store locator on their website.
- In-store collections
Some of our free recycling programs, in particular our beauty product recycling programs, allow you to return your empties instore. In Australia, you’re able to return innisfree, Kiehl’s, L’Occitane, and The Body Shop products to their stores located all across the country. For more information on how each program works, check out their program pages on our website.
- Zero Waste Boxes
TerraCycle’s paid recycling solution offers you near endless ways to recycle all those tricky items that can’t be recycled through normal kerbside collections. You can order your boxes from our website and they will be posted out to you. The boxes come with a return shipping label attached so when they are full you will just need to seal the boxes and drop them off at your closest post office. The price of the box covers the box itself, shipping to you/back to us once full, and the cost of recycling the contents. Through our Zero Waste Box solution, you can recycle practically everything! From used facemasks and gloves to sporting equipment, party supplies, shipping materials and more! Be sure to take our quiz to find the right box for you and your recycling needs.
- Nourished Life
Another way to recycle beauty products through our Zero Waste Box solution is to send in your empties to Nourished Life who will provide you with a free return label. For more info check out how they’re helping reduce waste in the beauty industry in Australia.
- Flora and Fauna
Flora & Fauna will also accept all your empty beauty products for recycling with TerraCycle and will even reward you with a $10 store credit for every shipment you send them. For all the details head here.
What support does TerraCycle provide?
Our goal is to provide you with all the information and support you need to help you manage your recycling collection. While we don’t provide you with a collection bin, we do encourage you to use a used cardboard box in the spirit of zero waste. Down the bottom of each program page, you’ll find a range of downloadable posters, FAQs, and flyers to help you maximise your collection.
We recommend attaching the program’s accepted waste poster to your collection bin so it’s clear which items are able to be recycled through the program. If you’re setting up a Community Collection Hub, you can find a range of resources to help you get started here.
How does the point system work?
Through many of our free recycling programs we reward you with TerraCycle points redeemable for a cash payment toward the school or non-profit organisation of your choice. When you send in qualifying shipments (some have minimum weight requirements), your account will be automatically credited with the corresponding amount of points.
To redeem your points, you’ll need to wait until you have accrued at least 1000. To find out how many points you have, simply log in to your TerraCycle account and check the number in the top right hand corner (where the heart on hand symbol is). When you’re ready to redeem, head to this page on the website and either choose one of our featured charities in the drop down menu or search for an existing charity by clicking on “Add A New Charity”. If the school or non-profit is not already registered then you will need to add them and fill in as many details as possible including the name and contact details of someone who works there.
Our charity payments are processed twice a year and the cut off dates for both rounds of payments are 30 April and 31 October. If your school or charity doesn’t receive their donation within 2 months of you redeeming your points, it’s likely that you missed the cut off date and your donation will be processed in the next round.
How to stay in touch with TerraCycle
To stay updated on all things TerraCycle, make sure you follow our social media accounts and have signed up to receive our newsletter. We’ll be sending out quarterly updates to all our private collectors and Community Collection Hubs with news on program launches, giveaways, competitions, milestones, recycling tips and tricks and industry related news. Make sure you check out our brand new blog too.
Australia contact details:
Email Customer Support at: email@example.com
New Zealand contact details:
Email Customer Support at: firstname.lastname@example.org