This company wants to recycle all your “life waste”

Is the shampoo bottle dry rubbish or wet rubbish?
What should I do with takeaway boxes?

When the relevant regulations on garbage classification were formally implemented before, the discussion about it quickly became a hot topic, and it did make many people who are not familiar with garbage classification busy, and garbage disposal has also become a matter of special learning.

And there happens to be such a unique company on the market, you can send all kinds of garbage to it, and you can even convert the garbage into points for consumption.

It may sound unreasonable, but this company called TerraCycle has not only successfully operated for nearly 20 years, it has even made Procter & Gamble, Gillette and other companies chase to cooperate with it.

Behind this is that people are paying more and more attention to environmental protection, and it has also given birth to a series of brands and products that focus on environmental protection, recycling, and sustainable use.

TerraCycle, recycling all consumer waste

According to TerraCycle's official website, it is not only for ordinary consumers but also for enterprises, and has established a detailed recycling mechanism, hoping to complete the process from garbage collection to commodity recycling with higher efficiency and reduce resource consumption during the period.

Supporting the core of TerraCycle's operating model are countless ordinary consumers and even volunteers. Consumers can register on the TerraCycle platform and follow the platform process to get a free mailing list to send their consumer waste.

▲ TerraCycle's recycling site

Of course, if there is a corresponding recycling point near the living area, it can also be placed directly at the recycling point.

And according to the amount of waste, certain points can be obtained. These points are converted into currency in proportion, but they can only be transferred to local non-profit organizations or schools in proportion, or used to fund public welfare services such as river cleaning.

TerraCycle also considers two major problems of volunteer recycling. One is that the classification is troublesome. You can see the complaints of people during the implementation of the previous garbage classification regulations.

For this reason, TerraCycle specially cooperates with fixed brands to launch corresponding recycling programs, such as the daily brand Procter & Gamble, which lists recyclable garbage in details, such as laundry detergent bottles, bottle mouths and even related cartons.

▲ TerraCycle will list recyclable garbage in detail

Geely razors are the same, including the plastic body, blades, etc., can be put together and sent to TerraCycle. It even designed recycling packaging boxes with different capacities to facilitate volunteers to collect life waste. The number of brands participating in the recycling program is constantly increasing, and the coverage is getting wider.

The second problem in the recycling process is simplified through the brand-fixed product recycling program-difficult to recycle and sort. Due to the fixed type of garbage, including the fixed capacity of the garbage collection box, the difficulty of TerraCycle work is greatly reduced, and there is no need to face a large number of Garbage with different types and different recycling methods.

▲Trash boxes of different capacities

Generally speaking, TerraCycle will first check whether the garbage is polluted, and then sort them together. After the garbage is collected to a certain capacity, the garbage will be cleaned, decomposed, and reprocessed. The recycled materials produced will be sold to major brands to make a variety of Kind of product.

For example, P&G’s daily laundry detergent plastic bottles may be recycled and made into plastic transport trays, playground tracks, and the patches in Gillette's razors are used to make park chairs.

In addition, TerraCycle also directly recycles all kinds of waste from companies. For example, when it was founded, it cooperated with the canteen of Princeton University to industrialize food waste, convert it into organic fertilizer, and resell it.

Cooperating with brands to establish recycling programs and selling recycled materials is also an important profit method for TerraCycle. At the same time, it is also an important way to influence consumer consumption and increase the amount of waste recycling.

From food waste to toiletries, to shoes and clothes, TerraCycle's recycling plan can be said to cover all aspects of people's life and consumption. This is also in line with the company's founder Tom Szaky's philosophy-to allow all consumer goods to be recycled and reused.

▲Tom Szaky

At present, it is constantly approaching this goal. According to Fastcompany reports, 500 brands have now cooperated with TerraCycle to establish recycling programs, which is 10 times more than in 2016. As a commercial company, TerraCycle has created a recycling program in 20 countries. More than 50 million US dollars in revenue.

Is "recycling" a new business trend?

Attracting more brands and consumers to participate in the recycling program has always been one of TerraCycle's main ways to expand its operations and move further into the consumption cycle, as well as one of the main ways to increase people's awareness of recyclable consumption.

Recently, it organized a school-based challenge in cooperation with Colgate, inviting school students from Michigan and other regions in the United States to participate in the recycling program. Any brand of second-hand toothpaste, toothbrush, dental floss and other dental users can participate in the program. , And the school with the highest recycling volume will receive funding for campus equipment worth $53,000.

In recent years, more and more brands have established recycling programs or corresponding recycling activities. Samsung has previously established a recycling program calledGalaxy Upcycling , which can convert old Samsung mobile phones into eye examination equipment to help doctors detect glaucoma, etc. Eye diseases.

This is a new way to recycle electronic products, and Samsung has been expanding the plan. Old Samsung mobile phones can be transformed into various smart home automatic control devices, such as pet monitors, baby monitors, and dogs. The lights in the home are automatically activated when the pet is alone at home.

Corresponding functions are available in many products on the market, but the transformation of old mobile phones is more of a waste utilization, and the stability of Samsung's initiative to make updates will also have a certain guarantee.

The domestic coffee brand Santon and a half also has a long-term recycling activity called the "Return to Air Plan". On a designated open day, consumers can make an appointment in the corresponding mini program and exchange their used empty shell for three and a half tons of stickers. , Badges and other peripheral products.

The recycled empty coffee cups will also be recycled for three and a half meals to make a variety of life peripheral products. On Weibo, you can see that many users post Weibo to participate in activities, or share their opinions. Three and a half small cups.

According to a report by Brand Planet, 770,000 cups were recovered in the second phase of last year's two-and-a-half days event, with more than 10,000 participants nationwide.

Of course, some people here may think that the so-called recycling plan is nothing more than the marketing behavior of the company, but things are often multi-faceted, and as a result, it does promote recycling.

Taking Samsung’s recycling program as an example, e-waste has grown faster and faster in recent years. According to the data report of the “Global E-waste Monitoring 2020” released by the United Nations, 53.6 million tons of e-waste was generated globally in 2019, which is another record high. The annual output of e-waste has been rising in recent years.

As a top brand in the mobile phone industry, Samsung’s move is undoubtedly of demonstrative significance, and it does allow some old products to find new places.

To take a step back, even if there are not many people who really use recycling services, activities like the Three and a Half Return Plan are not just another form of communication because of the interesting and fun surrounding product design that encourages people to share on social media. Education, let more people realize the meaning of recycling and continuous use.

Companies like TerraCycle support various consumer brands to launch corresponding recycling programs or activities, and allow more people to see the corresponding content. Consumers’ choices will also prompt brands to launch more recyclable products and activities. A positive cycle is formed.

The recycling industry cannot go the old way

The emergence of commercial recycling is inseparable from the promotion of technological development. Levi's once cooperated with the fiber company Evrnu to make a new Levi's 511 jeans out of five waste T-shirts.

The secret of this is Evrnu's new technology, which liquefies waste clothes into a slurry, and compresses them into new yarns through a technology similar to 3D printing.

Previously we have reported that Hermes also be retrofitted with mushrooms, pressing of fiber, and plant them manufactured leather case , so that more and more clothing can be used for sustainable materials.

They all solve the problem of consumer waste to a certain extent, but obviously the existing technology can't solve all the problems. Levi's can't make a new T-shirt from a waste T-shirt is the best proof.

It is still important to change people's perceptions, which is not only reflected in the understanding of sustainable commodities, but also in the understanding of waste categories. In the traditional recycling process, random accumulation of garbage can easily cause secondary pollution, which increases the cost of recycling.

In this regard, the domestic start is relatively late. As mentioned at the beginning of the article, many people do not have a high level of awareness of the garbage category. A plastic bottle and a take-out box may cause secondary pollution, while Japan and other countries implement garbage. The classification is earlier, and the public has a stronger awareness.

This can not only reduce secondary pollution, but also reduce the pressure on the recycling end, and reduce the costs consumed by recycling companies such as TerraCycle in the process of sorting and disinfection.

To put it bluntly, the recycling industry is indeed good for environmental protection, but their essence is still a private enterprise. The biggest consideration is still whether the company can make a profit and whether it can continue to make a profit.

Sustained business benefits can promote the emergence of more companies like TerraCycle and Evrnu.

On the other hand, how to get enough attention and benefits for these companies is equally important. Many governments around the world will introduce corresponding subsidy policies to ensure the healthy development of enterprises in the recycling industry, but it is not realistic to rely solely on the government.

Competition and high profits are the key reasons for the rapid development of an industry. People spend higher prices to buy products made with recycled materials, but whether this part of the profits goes to consumer brand companies like Levi’s or recycling companies like TerraCycle. This is worth thinking about .

Recycling companies should not be just a raw material supplier. It is important to increase the bargaining space. TerraCyle has also made some explorations. It not only cooperates with big-name companies such as Procter & Gamble, but also often organizes events together to provide marketing services.

Going from behind the scenes to the front stage to enhance its brand influence and bargaining power, TerraCyle has also launched its own eco-friendly store loop, where users can buy TerraCyle products based on sustainable packaging design.

▲ Some products sold in the loop store

After the cola and skin care products are used up, they can be sent back to TerraCycle for refilling, so that consumers can use them multiple times to reduce packaging costs, and TerraCycle can also obtain a portion of the profit.

Reducing waste requires the participation of consumers. It also requires companies that are committed to recyclable services to change their business concepts, not only recycling waste, but also providing higher value-added services, technologies, etc., and improving corporate efficiency can attract better companies. Talents enter, forming a reproducible positive cycle, and finally moving towards a world where consumption and garbage cycles are transformed.

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