Terracycle ‘growing rapidly’ in UK waste market

Multinational recycling firm Terracycle has said that it is growing rapidly in the UK, with the company’s chief executive Tom Szaky telling letsrecycle.com that it soon hopes to be a ‘significant player’ in the market.

Terracycle, which began operating in the US in 2003, specialises in recycling materials for which there is little or no local authority collection infrastructure and in which people see no value.

The company has its headquarters in Trenton, New Jersey, also operates in Mexico, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Sweden, Argentina, Holland, Luxembourg, Belgium, Denmark, Norway, Spain and Switzerland. Its UK arm was established in 2009.

Its business model sees consumers given freepost envelopes to post material including baby wipes packaging, biscuit wrappers and pens, to Terracycle’s transfer station in Croydon, Essex. The company then sends it to UK-based recycling firms to be reprocessed.

Items such as park benches and paving are created using plastics recovered from the process.

For every piece of material received by Terracycle, consumers are able to nominate a charity to which a donation will be sent. Income received from material recovered through the process is retained by TerraCycle.


The company already has collection schemes in place for companies including coffee producer Kenco, yoghurt maker Danone, McVitie’s, pen manufacturer Bic and Aquafresh, as well as collecting waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) including mobile phones and laptops.

To date in the UK, Terracycle has collected over 9.5 million individual pieces of packaging or WEEE, donating around £130,000 to charity in the process. According to the company, its turnover in the UK last year was between £1.5-2 million.

The company’s founder and chief executive Tom Szaky, said: “We want to be a significant player and we are growing the number of collection programmes that we offer.

“In the UK we collect about one million pieces of waste per month, with around half a million people collecting, the UK is one of our fastest growing areas. The main difference we have from other companies in the sector is that not only do we know how to process the material, but we offer a nationwide collection service.”

On expanding Terracycle’s brand within the UK, Mr Szaky explained that the company would work with manufacturers to promote its name to consumers.

He explained: “We work with the brands on promotion and for them to support the message. Our image is on Mcvities packaging and Johnson’s baby wipes, that helps because as you can imagine, they have more significant marketing means than we do.”


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