If you can't beat them, recycle it! Cindy's blog Dec. 14 2017
I have always appreciated Terracycle’s attitude-people will not stop creating waste so let’s make use of the waste and in Tom Szaky’s vision of the new economy, nothing is garbage.
Szaky, the Toronto-raised founder of TerraCycle, a New Jersey-based garbage startup, has built a $24-million business around the belief that everything is recyclable. He has convinced some of the world’s largest brands and retailers, including Procter & Gamble Co., Colgate-Palmolive Co. and Office Depot Inc., that there’s value in spending to keep garbage out of landfills.
Now he’s seeking millions to help fund a bigger mission: making trash the star of a circular economy, where re-use is the norm.
Inspired by the glass milk-bottle porch deliveries of yesteryear, he’s creating a durable consumer-recycling system. Think shampoo encased in gleaming stainless-steel capsules, ice cream packaged in thermos-like containers, coffee sealed in metal pods instead of plastic — all the packages to be carted off, sanitized, deconstructed and used again.
“We celebrate waste, and try to make it fun, exciting and even sexy,” TerraCycle states in a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing.
In Szaky’s favour, consumers and investors are demanding a smaller carbon footprint and corporations are spending more on sustainability. At the same time, shoppers want everything easy and fast.
“Why do we all use a disposable lifestyle? Because of convenience,” he said. “It has to be as convenient or more convenient. Then it’s got to play on the economics. And then everyone will love it because it’s eco-friendly and solves waste in a profound way.”
To turn the trend, a growing number of companies are stepping up. Kraft Heinz Co. is investing $200 million on green initiatives. Unilever, the maker of Dove soaps and Lipton tea, in 2010 pledged to halve its environmental impact by 2020. Wal-Mart is making its private-label product packaging recyclable.
Szaky has his eye on the junk no one wants — chip bags, toothbrushes, flip-flops, candy wrappers — that are made of components that cost more to separate than to buy new. That’s where retailers and consumer-product makers come in, paying TerraCycle to handle recovery and earning good corporate-citizen bragging rights. Schools, stores, municipalities and clean-up groups gather the cast-offs and ship them, postage-paid, to TerraCycle, collecting points that can become charitable donations. At TerraCycle warehouses, the stream is processed and channelled for re-use.
At this year’s Davos (a town in the Swiss Alps that hosts the annual World Economic Forum). , TerraCycle announced its partnership with P&G and French utility Suez SA to create the world’s first shampoo container made from plastic washed up on beaches. http://calstoneinc.com/a-tiny-little-keychain-june-8-2017/
Sales of the grey Head & Shoulders bottle began in France on June 8, World Oceans Day, and will expand to two other countries within the next month or so. By the end of next year, P&G’s full hair-care line in Europe — which includes Pantene and Aussie — will be in recycled plastic, said Eduardo Atamoros, communications director for Head & Shoulders.
Though the new bottles cost P&G more to make than the iconic blue-and-white version, sales have increased, and the company expects prices to drop as the project becomes scalable.
“Other companies similar to ours have been inquiring for this type of plastic,” Atamoros said. “We wanted to lead by example, and say we have a responsibility.”
That’s how Honest Tea juice pouches, with help from TerraCycle’s design garage, get a second life as backpacks and messenger bags. Toothbrushes and floss containers from the likes of Colgate and Tom’s of Maine, and packaging from Entenmann’s, are processed into pellets by a TerraCycle subcontractor to become plastic lumber for park benches and shipping pallets.
Probably the best example of the company’s ethos is its home base in Trenton, where manufacturing was once so big that the capital city’s motto was “Trenton Makes, the World Takes.” Inside TerraCycle, a conference-room table is made from bowling-alley lanes. Desks are vintage doors propped on stacked 5-gallon buckets, with vinyl music albums glued together as partitions. There are 65 employees in Trenton, a team of salaried scientists, designers and researchers and developers, all unabashed recycling addicts.
Tiffany Threadgould, the company’s chief design junkie — that’s her real title — says there’s zero waste at work and very little at her Philadelphia home. She brings her flexible packaging to the office and has a composting service pick up her kitchen scraps. One of her colleagues actually brings her food waste on the train.
The challenge is to make this lifestyle broad and reflexive. It starts with an evaluation of cost during a product’s complete life cycle, said Kevin Lyons, a professor of supply-chain management at Rutgers Business School.
A consumer pays twice: to buy and to dispose. A manufacturer can reduce, or even eliminate that second spend, and reap its own savings with thoughtful early design.
“There are companies that are now seeing there is a value-add to doing what Tom is asking them to do,” Lyons said.
Terracycle is an inspiration and it is so encouraging to see a company embracing the world around it to make it a better place. May 2018 be one with less garbage but also the year of using it up!!
Follow Terracycle on Facebook as everyday they post new and innovative items they have created out of waste. https://www.facebook.com/TerraCycleCA/
Stacie Sherman and Elise Young Bloomberg/Toronto Star Dec 2 2017