I’ve got something a bit different for you today – no cute lemurs I’m afraid. Instead I’m going to tell you about recycling. This year I want to challenge myself to start doing a bit more each month to head towards a low waste lifestyle, and one of my first steps is TerraCycle.  If you’ve mastered RedCycling (soft plastics), this should be your next move.

What is TerraCycle?

TerraCycle is a company that aim to ‘recycle the unrecyclable’. Think things like shampoo bottles, toothpaste tubes, and cosmetic packaging (which can’t go in your yellow bin). Starting in the US in 2001, there are now branches in 21 countries, with about 80 million members!

How do I do it?

For something so easy, it’s a real worry that most of us don’t already know about this.  Here’s how it works.


There are different programs for different categories of waste. Most programs are sponsored by brands and free, while more tricky items such as hairnets, disposable gloves, and office supplies require you to purchase a collection box.

All you need to do is start collecting! Just make sure you wash things out as best as you can. If you can hoard 7kg worth of waste for one program, you can request a free shipping label to send it off, otherwise you can take your items to a drop-off location. Keep in mind that some drop-off locations only accept waste for certain programs.

There’s lots of drop-off points in Adelaide!

What are the programs?

Here’s some of the free programs available in Australia with examples of accepted waste.

Beauty Products

Any brand of cosmetic packaging (eg. lipstick, mascara, foundation, eye shadow), hair care packaging (eg. shampoo, conditioner, hair spray) and skin care packaging (eg. moisturizer, soap dispensers and tubes).

accepted beauty.JPG

Oral Care

Any brand of toothpaste tubes and caps, toothbrushes (incl. outer packaging), and floss containers.


Dish and Air Care

Any brand of things like dishwashing liquid, air freshener cans, and plug-in air fresheners.

accepted dishes.JPG

Mailing Satchels

Prepaid mailing satchels and padded bags.


Coffee Capsules

There’s three different streams for recycling coffee capsules, organised by brand: L’OR & Moccona, NESCAFE Dolce Gusto, Nespresso.

Where does this stuff go?

Most of the waste is separated out into different components and melted down to create new plastic products, including things like picnic tables and playgrounds!

What’s in it for me?

Aside from the wonderful feeling of knowing you are reducing your impact on the planet, there are also reward points, which you can redeem as a cash donation for schools and charities, or use to purchase a collection box for one of the paid programs. Bonus!

This is such a simple way to drastically reduce the amount of waste you send to landfill, and I hope I’ve inspired you to get started!

Please leave any questions or comments below and make sure you go and check out TerraCycle’s website.


All images from TerraCycle Australia