Kerbside recycling is getting easier as local councils expand and improve their services, and rather than binning things like bread bags and batteries, some supermarkets now accept them for recycling. But what about crisp, biscuit or cheese packaging, coffee bags, used razors or all those other hard-to-recycle products? Now there’s an easy, free answer!
TerraCycle runs many free recycling programmes that are super easy to use, and free. To see all the different types of packaging and used products you can recycle, choose your country flag on their website: https://www.terracycle.com/en-GB/brigades
- Look for the programmes that say “Available locations remaining”. These let you print off a prepaid postage label and send your packaging for free to be recycled.
- For any programme, click on ‘What can I send in through this recycling programme?’ Even though the programmes are sponsored by a specific company, they often accept any brand’s packaging.
- If you’d like to participate, sign up to the programme you’d like to join.
- Save up your packaging till you’ve got enough for an envelope or box.
- Go into the programme and click ‘Request shipping label’. A label will be emailed to you immediately.
- Tape the label to your bag or box (it doesn’t matter how heavy or big it is) and drop it off with Royal Mail.
We’ve been using it for our coffee bags (and our neighbour’s!) and it is really straightforward.
Here’s a taste of what can be sent for free for recycling in the UK (as of September 2022). Do check the website, as there are many more, and they regularly add new programmes.
- Coffee bags: The Taylors of Harrogate Free Recycling Programme, accepts any brand.
- Coffee pods: The Lavazza Eco Caps Free Composting Programme. Lavazza only.
- Cheese packets: The Cheese Packaging Free Recycling Programme, accepts any brand.
- Confectionary packaging like chocolate and sweets wrappers and pouches: The Confectionery Free Recycling Programme, accepts any brand.
- Biscuit, cracker, cake packaging like McVitie’s: The pladis Biscuits and Snacks Free Recycling Programme, accepts any brand.
- Bread and bagel bags: The Warburtons Bakery Free Recycling Programme, accepts any brand. All the little makeup containers like mascara tubes, lipsticks & balms, eye shadow, etc : The Burt’s Bees® Personal Care Free Recycling Programme, accepts any brand.
- All used oral care products and packaging: The Colgate® and hello® Oral Care Free Recycling Programme, accepts any brand.
- Razors and blades: The Gillette® Free Recycling Envelope, accepts any brand.
- Personal care products like deodorant, plastic pots and flexible plastic tubes, wipes packaging: The Personal Care and Beauty Free Recycling Programme, accepts any brand.
- Air, home and laundry care packaging like washing up bottles, air fresheners, dryer sheets, dishwasher and laundry tablet packaging: The Air, Home and Laundry Care Free Recycling Programme, accepts any brand.
About Terra Cycle (from its website)
TerraCycle is a privately held company owned by its founder, Tom Szaky. It is based in Trenton, New Jersey, founded in 2001.
In 2007, to expand the range of waste TerraCycle was able to collect and convert, it introduced brand-sponsored recycling programmes. First was the Drink Pouch Brigade, which was followed by programmes to collect and recycle energy bar wrappers and yogurt cups.
By 2009, 25 new programmes had been added, and TerraCycle had expanded to Brazil, Canada, and the UK. In 2011, TerraCycle expanded to Norway, Spain, Germany, Ireland, Switzerland, Denmark, Belgium, and the Netherlands.
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