Innovation That Matters

TerraCycle collects non-recyclables at big-box stores


TerraCycle and its ever-expanding list of eco-innovations have once again caught our eye. Not satisfied with simply making eco-fertilizer from organic waste and worm poop or turning old wrappers into eco-chic bags and accessories, the US-based company has now introduced a non-recyclable packaging collection system in several American big-box chain stores. The collection project first began in 2007, letting the public (most often civic groups or schools) set up collection points for packaging and other waste. TerraCycle donates USD 0.02–0.06 to the charity of the collector’s choice for each unit that enters the system. The benefit for TerraCycle: a warm, fuzzy planet-saving glow, and a source of raw material for the upcycled products it sells, including pencil cases, lunch boxes and corkboards. Now, two years later, the program is making its way into thousands of retail locations across America, thanks to partnerships with major chains like PETCO, OfficeMax, Home Depot and Best Buy. The ultimate plan is to establish permanent collection points in all of these chains’ stores nationwide, aiming for 10,000 retail locations by 2010. Consumers who live too far from one of the retail drop-offs can sign up to collect waste themselves. Although coupling with major chains might seem to conflict with TerraCycle’s grass-roots ethics, it’s a highly effective way of scaling up their operation. It’s not a bad deal for the retailers either, cutting a better profile where sustainability is concerned. A win-win for all concerned. Something to start up in other eco-minded regions? Spotted by: Treehugger via Raymond Kollau



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