TerraCycle launches new direct-to-consumer bags for hard-to-recycle plastics

Through the ‘Zero Waste Bag’ scheme, customers can order a bag online, fill it with items that cannot be collected at kerbside by their councils, and return it for recycling using InPost lockers. There are more than 5,000 InPost lockers across the UK.

Items such as crisp and snack packets, cosmetics packaging, blister packs for medications, pet food packaging and office supplies can be placed in Zero Waste Bags.

Once collected, the items will be recycled at specialist recycling facilities. TerraCycle commonly turns them into things like outdoor furniture, as these items are often challenging to recycle back into new packaging.

The scheme will be operated alongside TerraCycle’s existing network of recycling collections in partnership with brands, whereby collection boxes are hosted at locations such as community centres and retailers. Brands with partnerships with TerraCycle in the UK include Ferrero Rocher, Colgate, Pringles, KP Snacks , Warburtons and Maybelline.

TerraCycle has stated that the scheme has been “designed to represent the perfect solution in terms of ease and practicality for the public”. But there is a cost to the scheme, which may prove controversial amid the cost-of-living crisis.

Customers will need to fork our £25 for a small Zero Waste Bag or £39 for a large. If they buy multiple bags, there will be discounts. This money is used to cover delivery costs and waste processing costs.

In the absence of a unified kerbside recycling scheme across the UK, which was first promised by the Government in 2018, many large retailers have rolled out soft plastic recycling points across their stores. Time will tell whether shoppers opt for TerraCycle’s ‘Zero Waste Bags’ over these free-to-use in-store points, and whether any major retailers partner with TerraCycle on its new initiative.

WRAP has welcomed the launch of the scheme. The NGO’s senior sector specialist Adam Herriott said he is are “delighted to see that citizens will have the option and opportunity to be able to recycle more”. But he did have one caveat, stating: “We need to continue to work on ways to eliminate the problematic and unnecessary packaging and design materials with end of life in mind”.

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Comments (2)

  1. Nigel Upson says:

    Great idea but prohibitive cost for most? Perhaps the retailers that make profit from selling goods in this packaging could provide this service FOC?

  2. Mark Watson says:

    Most large supermarkets do provide free to use front of store drop offs for film plastics

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