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How TerraCycle Works

How It Works Image

TerraCycle is on a mission to eliminate the idea of waste. We do this by creating waste collection programs (each one is called a “Brigade”) for previously non-recyclable, or difficult-to-recycle, waste. The collected waste is then converted into new products, ranging from recycled park benches to upcycled backpacks.

Select Your Waste

To get started, simply sign up and join a Brigade program for which you want to collect. There are currently more than 20 Brigade programs that range from food packaging (like drink pouches and candy wrappers) to office supplies (like pens and inkjet cartridges) to personal products (like cosmetic, beauty and diaper packaging). You can join as many Brigade programs as you like.

Collect and Send

Once you have joined a TerraCycle Brigade program, download our “Collect, Store, and Ship Guide” for helpful suggestions on how to become a successful waste collection station. When your waste is ready to be sent in, you can download a shipping label from your TerraCycle account. Once your waste is received and checked in to the TerraCycle facility, your collection location will be credited with any TerraCycle points that you may have earned for your waste. TerraCycle points can be redeemed for a variety of charitable gifts, or for a payment of $0.01 per point to the non-profit organization or school of your choice.

Solve and Benefit

TerraCycle's team of scientists and designers have found ways to recycle and upcycle the waste we collect into cool new products. When we upcycle a piece of waste we leverage both the material it is made from and the original shape of the waste. When we recycle we transform the collected waste into new products through a variety of processes like injection molding. Best of all, when you're done with a TerraCycle product you can put it back in the original Brigade collection program and get credit for the waste a second time.