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Terracycle: Turn Trash into Treasures!

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Next time you purchase a box of Capri Sun drinks, a tube of Colgate toothpaste, a Clif bar etc.. consider hanging on to your trash and sending it to Terracycle!

TerraCycle takes a wide range of different non-recyclable waste materials and then makes affordable, eco-friendly products. Terracycle is hoping to eliminate the idea of waste by finding innovative, unique uses for materials others deem garbage. With over 50 products available at major retailers like Walmart, Target, The Home Depot, OfficeMax, Petco and Whole Foods Market, TerraCycle is one of the fastest growing eco-friendly manufacturers in the world.

Consider what happens when your kids finish drinking a Capri Sun…they toss the empty juice box in the trash which eventually ends up in a dumpster or landfill. Instead of adding the drink pouch to a pile of other pouches at the landfill, TerraCycle converts the used drink pouches into unique fashion bags, tote bags, pencil cases, and other items for kids and adults (check out the adorable Skittles bag below made from recycled Skittles wrappers)!

If you are inspired to join Terracycle and to help save the planet, here is what you need to do…

-Join the Terracycle community by clicking here (registration is FREE!)

-You will be asked to join a team or start a new team (you can sign up a school, girl/boy scout troop, business, neighborhood etc). You do NOT have to sign up as a team…you CAN join as an individual. Just select “other” from the organization type drop down menu and then fill in your name and personal address.

-Because Terracycle donates a certain amount for each piece of collected trash (i.e. $0.02 per drink pouch), you will need to select a charity to receive this donation (your charity can even be your local school!). You will have the option of choosing your own charity (you will need the charity name, mailing address, and phone #) or choosing from a charity already listed (i.e. Earth’s Birthday or The Nature Conservancy).

-Once the registration process has been completed, you will receive an email with an activation code that you will need to click on to activate your account.

-Log into your account and search through all of the active “trash brigades.” If you are interested in collecting a specific item, simply click on “start collecting.” You will then be able to read specific information about the “trash brigade” that you selected…if you are still interested, you will then need to click on “Join this brigade” at the bottom of the page. For example, I chose to join the cookie wrapper brigade (might as well do something will all those empty cookie wrappers, right ๐Ÿ˜‰ ). With this particular brigade, you must collect at least 50 wrappers. Once you have 50 cookie wrappers, you pack them in an old box or bag that you have at home, affix the prepaid postage label that you print out at home* and drop it off at the nearest UPS location (yes, shipping is FREE so there is absolutely NO cost out of pocket!). For each wrapper that Terracycle receives, $0.02 will be paid to the non-profit organization of my choice (i.e. my son’s school). So cool!!

*Note: There are 2 ways to receive the mailing labels. You can download a shipping label to print immediately OR if you donโ€™t have a printer available, you can have TerraCycle print physical labels and send them to you (it may be 5-10 business days before you receive your labels.).

To learn even more about Terracycle, check out this You Tube video found here.

So what do you guys think? Aren’t you inspired to join this incredible organization?! Let me know what your thoughts are.

(Thanks, Jarrod!)

Collin founded Hip2Save in 2008 and has over 10 years experience as a deals and lifestyle editor, strategist, and creative copywriter. She is debt-free and has been featured in Parents Magazine, Today.com and MSNBC. Connect with Collin on LinkedIn

Join The Discussion

Comments 33

  1. Latasha

    This is the most wonderful idea! I can’t wait to send in some stuff and also take a look at all the cool things they make and sell. Great idea and thanks for posting!

  2. Sarah

    Wow…this is awesome. This is a great way for my family to cut down on trash!

  3. cara

    I having been doing this for about a year and LOVE it! I do this for the juice pouch brigade! super easy to get signed up, they send you the UPS or FedEx don’t remember bags and labels- super easy and FREE! I have mine donated to a friend’s charity that I also signed up for my friend- that was super easy too!

  4. Northeasterner

    Awesome!!! Going to rec at our next parents night at school!!!!

  5. Jessica

    We do this at our school. Collect all the used juice pouches and send them in to earn money. Then we buy the pencil cases and sell them at our school store. The kids and teachers love it !!!

  6. Shanna

    I love this idea. I have personally been “upcycling” items like the juice pouches for the past year or so. It is so easy and such a great way to use our resources wisely! I have never heard of this, thanks so much for sharing I think I am going to try and get my Daisy Scouts on board with this at our next meeting!

  7. Bella

    I think I’ll give this a try. We buy the juicy pouch drinks for our kids, so this might be the way to go. And they can feel good about helping to recycle. : ) Thanks!

  8. Niki

    I have signed up a while ago. I chose to donate to charity. However, it’s a liitle complicate. They only accept specific type of trash such as specific tube of aveeno or specific brand of a juice pouch. That make it hard for me to gather cause I don’t have much of each. I wish they gather more varities as long as it’s in same catogory. For example, any plastic tube or any juice pouch or so….

    • Emily

      Hey Everyone! I work at TerraCycle and wanted to say thank you to everyone who participates in our Brigades and for all the great comments so far!

      Also, to answer some of your questions:

      Niki – for some of our Brigades we will take any item, not just the brand name listed. So, for example, in our Drink Pouch, Chip Bag, and Candy Wrapper Brigade, we will take any brand and any size (except in the drink pouch it has to be a silver pouch and not a cardboard box). Also, for the Aveeno Brigade you mentioned, we don’t require a minimum amount to send in (although we do recommended at least 30 to be eco-friendly with the shipping). We also suggest talking to your friends, family, and neighbors to work with them to collect their waste too. This should help you collect more.

      Melanie – Collin is right. The shipping labels you print for each brigade help us identify what items you are sending in and who should get the credit for sending them. We count everything using the packages weight now because we receive to much each day to actually count everything by hand. So, it is important to keep the items separate so that we can give you the right credit.

  9. jinx2

    what a great idea! just last night my husband, daughter, 2 nephews, and i went through at least 8 capri-sun pouches. what a great way to keep them out of the landfill!

  10. Lori

    We do this in my class. I encourage parents to send capri sun and Lays brand snacks so we can recycle and get the money.

  11. Julie

    This is such a great idea. We definitely go through some of these items at our house.

  12. Melanie

    Do you have to send in the items separately? For ex.: one package with the potato chip bags and one with the toothpaste, etc. or can you pack them all up together?

    • collin


      You have to send the items separately…every trash brigade has a different shipping label.

      • Melanie

        Thanks for your reply. So, do you have to have a certain amount before you send it in. I’m just thinking that it might be hard to accumulate many of these if you are not loyal to a specific brand. I can see why you would want to collect them as a group.

        • Emily

          Hey Melanie,

          Please see my comment to Niki above ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. KristinM

    What a small world! I just read an interview with TerraCycle’s founder this morning! I don’t know if we use the products they collect, but I’ll check out their website to see. ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. Erin

    This is a really great program to highlight, especially for couponers. I get so aggravated because I feel I have to be wasteful in order to snag great deals (i.e., buy more than we need at one time, not to mention things we don’t need at all, buy new razors rather than cartridge refills, new airfresheners rather than refills, buying multiple smaller size items rather than one large one, etc.), so I try to recycle whatever I can. Way to go!

  15. Tawanda!

    One of my former students gave me a wonderful tote bag made from juice pouches. I liked it so much that I purchased the matching toiletry kit. I think it’s time to get some for some b-day gifts for all of my hip friends. Thanks for the reminder Collin!

  16. Julianne

    I think its cool. I might give it a shot when i move next month. It would give me an excuse to meet the ppl in our new neighborhood and help save the planet at the same time. I could get our whole subdivision involved.

  17. Emily

    As a general tip, you can find answers to lots of commonly asked questions (like how many you need to send in, what brands or types you can collect, how to ship) on our website, http://www.TerraCycle.net

    You can find answers to your questions by looking at the info page for whichever Brigade you have a question about and on the left hand side, click the link that says “Help/FAQ”

    Have a Great Green Day!

    • Carey B

      that Help/FAQ don’t work

  18. Carey B

    do you know if we can change our Charity or Team later. it will not let me just join and I want to see who in my town is doing this so I can join them.

    • Ashley Marie

      I have been signed up for this for ever and have never picked a charity… I still do not quite understand it but am trying. To the point… I think you can sign up and not choose a charity, just skip it. I still do not have a charity selected.

      • Carey B

        I tryed and it said error. so can you please look and see if you could change it sence youare a member. please

  19. terri

    Weird timing…I was just checking this out today because I noticed it on our Capri Sun packages….definitely something to look into! I think it’s a great idea.

  20. Anna in NC

    I am also excited about this. I have purchased their products at Target. I didn’t know I could sign up as an individual. I have been saving items. Thank you for this post. I’m gonna get started right away.

  21. cheryl

    Collin — HOw can I Email this to someone at school??

  22. Kirsten

    Did anyone else have a problem with signing up? In my activation email it was blank so I cannot activate my account. Hmmmm

  23. Alicia

    That’s so cool! And free and easy for us to do!

  24. Jill

    Great idea…….My daughter just bought a skittles purse at Toys R’ Us a couple of weeks ago!!

  25. Jarrod

    Thanks Collin, you really did your homework on Terracycle. Everyone please support these products when you see them in the stores! (maybe some day there will be coupons for them ๐Ÿ™‚

  26. marcia

    I saw this on a capri sun box but missplaced theinfo to sign up..duh.. anyway, thank you so much for letting us know! This is awsome! we’ve been saving pouches for a few months!

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