UPS logistics service drives resource efficiency for TerraCycle

Recycling experts TerraCycle has diverted more than 40m pounds of waste from landfills since 2012, through a partnership with global customs and logistics firm UPS that has expanded recycling programmes across the globe.

TerraCycle specialises in generating second life uses for hard-to-recycle items such as toothpaste tubes, contact lenses and snack bags. Over the last five years, the recycling company has transformed 3.5bn pieces of waste into new products, including trash cans and park benches.

The company helps businesses and municipalities solve certain recycling challenges. For example, waste management firm Suez acquired 30% of TerraCycle’s European activities to develop collection and recycling programmes across the UK, the Netherlands, France, Belgium, Sweden and Finland.

However, TerraCycle’s ability to collect and deconstruct a variety of items depends on the reach of its programme to consumers, as well as the transportation of waste to be recycled. The largest customs broker in the world UPS has helped the company divert 40m pounds of waste from landfills during the five-year period by navigating the complexities of shipping regulated and unregulated goods across borders.

“TerraCycle has transformed recycling, just as UPS transformed logistics,” IPS’ director of global sustainability Patrick Browne said. “UPS is helping TerraCycle transport what was once considered trash or unrecyclable materials. As a result, businesses, communities and consumers can recycle more items and less waste is being thrown into landfills.”

To date, more than 60m people across 21 countries have participated in TerraCycle programmes. UPS also offers transportation technology for between 400 to 500 shipments daily, and TerraCycle can reach several hundred thousand more consumer and business customers globally through the partnership with UPS.

One man’s trash…

While UPS has invested more than $750m in alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles, the latest announcement represents a strategic foray into the circular economy market, and there are few better to partner on the subject than TerraCycle.

TerraCycle previously introduced a “first-of-its-kind” recycling initiative for discarded cigarette butts along with associated smokers’ waste in the UK, while work with United Biscuits reached the one-million milestone for biscuit wrapper recycling

The Procter & Gamble Company (P&G) will be mass-producing the world’s first recyclable shampoo bottle made from up to 25% post-consumer recycled (PCR) beach plastic, using TerraCycle and Suez to help develop the bottle.

“To meet our goal to reuse, upcycle and recycle waste we knew we had to make the process convenient and efficient for our customers,” TerraCycle’s founder Tom Szaky said.

“UPS helps us solve a variety of logistics challenges including navigating complex global shipping and customs regulations, which has allowed us to grow more quickly and ultimately move to a circular economy that benefits us all.”

Szaky is an advocate for improving economic incentives to kickstart a “silent revolution” in how consumers interact with products to reduce waste.

Matt Mace

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