Suez and TerraCycle to boost waste management for ‘tricky-to-recycle’ products

Pens, coffee packaging and protective disposable gloves could soon be subjected to innovative new recycling techniques, after waste management firm Suez announced a new partnership with developers TerraCycle, a company renown for treating hard-to-recycle materials.

Suez will acquire 30% of TerraCycle’s European activities as a means to develop innovative waste management, collection and recycling programmes across the UK, the Netherlands, France, Belgium, Sweden and Finland. With TerraCycle already working with UK clients – such as Bic, Kenco, Kimberley Clark and McVities – harder to recycle products such as coffee capsules, biros and gloves could soon be embedded into closed-loop systems.

Suez’s chief executive David Palmer-Jones said: “Suez’s investment in TerraCycle allows us to harness the combined skills of both companies to deliver innovative, creative and scalable solutions which tackle problematic and emerging waste streams in the UK and across Europe. Suez’s investment in TerraCycle will benefit UK customers both today and in a post-Brexit future.

“Using the knowledge of both companies, we can ensure that even the most complex and challenging waste streams are put to good use in a sustainable, long-term and economically viable way – whether its coffee pods, cigarette butts, laminated biscuit wrappers or the next, as yet unknown, generation of tricky-to-recycle products.”

The partnership will produce new recycling solutions for previously unrecyclable waste from businesses and local authorities, and will tap into community programmes and voluntary collection methods.

Almost 60 million collectors are working with TerraCycle, which will use company-sponsored volunteers and zero waste boxes to collect the waste before Suez handles it across numerous facilities. TerraCycle has also conducted work in this regard with global companies such as Mars, Danone and Mondelez.

“Our programmes are among the most innovative for promoting recycling,” TerraCycle’s chief executive Tom Szaky said. “The partnership will expand Suez’s public-facing recycling opportunities, while speeding up TerraCycle’s development in Europe. With Suez’s expertise, TerraCycle will offer more customised recycling solutions tailored to various waste streams.”

Waste Brigades

TerraCycle previously introduced a “first-of-its-kind” recycling initiative for discarded cigarette butts along with associated smokers’ waste in the UK. Launched last year, the Cigarette Waste Brigade saw cigarette butts and filters, ash, rolling paper, inner foil and outer plastic packaging all collected in an attempt to reduce the cause of more than 35% of total litter on UK streets.

The company’s work has also seen United Biscuits reach the one-million milestone for biscuit wrapper recycling. TerraCycle formed the McVitie’s ‘Biscuit Wrapper Brigade’ and has saved more than 2.5 tonnes worth of wrappers from landfill sites, raising £35,700 for charities.

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