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Waste Education and Collection TerraCycle is a global initiative focused on the collection and repurposing of otherwise non-recyclable waste streams working in 21 countries worldwide.

ENVIRONMENTAL Over 2.5 billion pieces of waste collected and recycled have resulted in a 40-80% carbon savings over traditional disposal options, the company claims.

SOCIAL Over 25 million students have engaged in TerraCycle’s recycling and environmental education programs.

ECONOMIC Almost $8 million has been donated to schools since 2008.

TerraCycle runs recycling fundraisers that collect and reuse over 60 different non-recyclable waste streams ranging from pens to hospital waste to cigarette butts. Any school, charity, individual, or business can sign up for free to earn money for non-profits by collecting trash they used to throw away. For every piece of waste a collector returns, two cents (or the local equivalent) is donated to a school or non-profit of their choice. The collected material is recycled or upcycled into consumer products, building materials, and industrial applications. Why a Sustainia100 solution? Garbage is a major global environmental issue. Recycling rates remain low in most countries, and environmental education is not a priority at most schools. TerraCycle’s solution helps to reduce waste today by providing an incentivized collection system, while also focusing on educating younger generations to become more sustainable citizens. The solution does not solve the vast issue of waste production itself, but it is a positive contribution to waste management.

Developed in Australia, South Korea, Japan, India, China, Columbia, Italy

Deployed in USA, Canada, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, UK, Ireland, France, Germany, Spain, Belgium, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Austria, Switzerland, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Hungary, Israel, Turkey

Solution by TerraCycle 149

2013 Sustainia100