The ins and outs of recycling can be tricky to untangle. To help you understand how our recycling solutions function and how you can make the most of them, we’ve put together a list of the most frequently asked questions about using TerraCycle. If there’s anything you’re still unsure about, head to our Help Centre in Australia or New Zealand and get in touch with our friendly customer support team.
How do TerraCycle’s free recycling programs work?
Across both Australia and New Zealand, TerraCycle operates more than 50 free national recycling programs for items that would otherwise be destined for landfills. Our goal is to prevent this rubbish from entering the environment, clogging landfills and polluting waterways. Whether you’re a school teacher, a parent, a small business owner, or a community leader, anyone can sign up to use TerraCycle’s free programs.
Before you start collecting items for recycling, complete the following steps:
- Create a TerraCycle account
Head to 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. This will enable you to sign up to the programs available where you live. 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 an account, you’ll be able to join as many 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 want to join. You’ll see a ‘Join program’ button on each page followed by program specifics such as accepted items and minimum shipment sizes.
- Wait to be accepted in a program if you’re placed on a waitlist
Due to their popularity, some of our free recycling programs reach full capacity from time to time. The sign-up button for these recycling programs on our website will note ‘sign up and join waitlist’, and you’ll be placed on the waitlist until there are more spaces available. We aren’t able to estimate how long it will take for you to be added, because the decision to admit more recyclers ultimately lies with the brand partner who sponsors the program.
TerraCycle’s programs are free to consumers because brands fund the cost of collecting and recycling the waste (minus the value of the resulting recycled materials). Brands aren’t obligated to offer recycling or other end-of-life solutions for their products and packages. Your feedback to brands is important, and letting them know that recycling solutions for the products you buy are important to you will go a long way to both launching and scaling these recycling solutions.
We continually work with our brand partners to make more spots available. Some of the waitlisted programs will fast track applicants who sign up as a public drop-off point and accept public donations of rubbish to recycle from people in their area. If this is something you are interested in, we recommend reaching out to our customer support team for more information.
- Set up your recycling station
Whether you’re recycling privately or doing so on behalf of your community, we encourage you to make the most of TerraCycle’s resources and support when setting up your recycling station. Down the bottom of each program page, you’ll find downloadable posters detailing accepted rubbish and answers to more FAQs.
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 public drop-off point, you can find a range of resources to help you get started here. In the spirit of sustainability, we encourage you to reuse a cardboard box for shipping in your items 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 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 and go to your profile page.
- Scroll down and you will see the list of free recycling programs you are currently registered for.
- Find the program you want to send in a shipment for and click ‘Get shipping label’.
- The label will 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 occasionally reach capacity, but you can still sign up to join them and be added to a waitlist. In the meantime, here are some other ways you can recycle your items through TerraCycle:
- Public drop-off points
Use our network of public drop-off points to search for a location nearby accepting the type of rubbish you want to recycle. Simply type in your suburb or postcode and select a convenient search area you can travel within to drop off items. Don’t forget to select the type of rubbish you want to recycle. Some locations accept several waste streams so be sure to check what you can drop off. It can be helpful to call the drop-off point organiser first to find the best time to drop off items and check if their details have changed.
- In-store collections
Some of our free programs allow you to drop off items in stores for recycling. In Australia, you can take a range of beauty empties, skincare product packing, medical blister packs, pet food packaging, worn-out toys, thongs and wetsuits to specific stores located across the country. In New Zealand, skincare packaging, beauty empties and pet food packaging can also be recycled in store. These programs are labelled ‘In-store Drop-off’ on the list of free recycling programs on our website.
- Zero Waste Boxes
Zero Waste Boxes are TerraCycle’s pre-paid recycling solution for even more tricky items that can’t be recycled through council kerbside collections. When you purchase a box, it’ll be posted to you with a return shipping label attached. When the box is full, you simply seal it and drop it off at your closest post office.
The price of these boxes reflects the production of the box; transportation to you and then back to our recycling facilities; and the actual cost of sorting, cleaning, processing and recycling the contents. They can help businesses and households recycle almost anything, from disposable face masks and gloves to air filters, eyewear, coffee equipment, clothing and more.
- Nourished Life
Another way to recycle beauty products in Australia is by sending them into natural product retailer Nourished Life, who use our Zero Waste Boxes to recycle them. Follow these steps to get a free shipping label from Nourished Life and send them your beauty empties.
Banish, a sustainably-minded online Aussie store and waste education platform, also accepts beauty empties, oral care, coffee capsules, kitchen products and more for recycling via TerraCycle. Head to their website to find all the details on the rubbish they accept (as well as their other recycling initiatives) and where to send your items. Shipments sent to Banish cost $15, but for each parcel you send in you’ll receive a $15 voucher to spend at their online store.
What support will I get from TerraCycle?
We aim to provide all the information and support you need to help manage your recycling collection and shipments. While we don’t provide you with a collection bin, we share ideas for collection stations across our social channels to inspire upcycled and pre-loved set ups. We also encourage you to reuse cardboard boxes to send your recycling to us.
Down the bottom of each program page, you’ll find a range of downloadable posters and answers to program-specific FAQs. 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. There are even more resources to help you set up a public drop-off point.
How does the TerraCycle reward points system work?
TerraCycle points are redeemable as donations towards the school or non-profit organisation of your choice, and are earned when you send shipments through many of our free recycling programs. When you send in qualifying shipments (some have minimum weight requirements), your account will be credited with the corresponding amount of points.
To redeem them and make a donation, you’ll need to wait until you have accrued at least 1000 points. To find out how many points you have, simply log in to your TerraCycle account and check the number beside ‘Points earned’ on the left hand side of the screen.
When you’re ready to redeem, head to this page and choose one of our featured charities in the drop down menu or search for another listed charity. If the school or non-profit is not already registered with TerraCycle, you can add them by clicking on ‘Add new charity’ 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, with cut-off dates to redeem your points as donations at the end of April and October. If your school or charity doesn’t receive their donation within three months of you redeeming your points, it’s likely you missed the cut-off date and your donation will be processed in the next round.
How do I contact TerraCycle?
Follow our social media accounts and sign up to receive our community newsletters to stay updated on all things TerraCycle. We send out regular updates about program launches, giveaways, competitions, milestones, recycling tips and industry-related news.
Australia contact details:
Email customer support at firstname.lastname@example.org or call on 1800 983 324
New Zealand contact details:
Email customer support at email@example.com or call on 0800 474 016