Think you can’t recycle it in NJ? TerraCycle Home begs to differ

TRENTON – Headquartered in the New Jersey capital, TerraCycle has taken its mission to attempt to recycle non-recyclable products across the United States and 20 other countries over the past two decades.

But a new initiative has the company thinking small – for now.

Founder and CEO Tom Szaky said he hopes the newly launched TerraCycle Home service will serve residents of Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Morris, Somerset and the Union Counties, as well as Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Lancaster, Die Montgomery and Philadelphia counties in Pennsylvania will also eventually go global.

Szaky said the idea is that people can rid their homes of things they can’t throw in blue bins for local pickup, all without having to go beyond their front steps.

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He talks about items like cosmetics, eyewear, pet food packaging, personal protective equipment and even one of the most traditional forms of waste, cigarette butts.

Subscribers can sign up for the service either once or twice a month.

“We’ll send you a trash can to put on your curb, then you can take specific TerraCycle Zero Waste bags, each for different waste streams, and start collecting and recycling those materials,” Szaky said. “Once it’s full, you put it in your TerraCycle Home box in front of your porch, request a pickup, and then we’ll pick it up right at your home and recycle everything in it.”

As Szaky puts it, TerraCycle Home aims to bridge the gap between what residents believe can be easily recycled and what isn’t, and between what public utilities believe they can cheaply recycle and what they can’t.

Really in the world almost everything is technically recyclable. What makes our aluminum can highly recyclable in our local recycling systems is that waste companies can make money from it,” he said. “We need to make recycling as easy as possible. People are very busy, there is a lot to do that we need to think about beyond recycling and that’s why our job is to try to make it as convenient as possible and as easy to use.

A release from TerraCycle states that a portion of the items collected will be recycled into things like benches that can be donated to parks in participating communities.

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Patrick Lavery is a reporter and host for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at [email protected]

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