At home I have a trash and a recycling bin. My recycling company (Advanced Disposal) accepts plastics 1-7, PET, HDPE, glass, cardboard, mixed paper, newspaper, tin, steel, and aluminum cans. Here are examples of the different plastics:
- #1 (PET) - Example: Water Bottles
- #2 (HDPE) - Example: Milk Jugs
- #3 (PVC) - Example: Shampoo Bottles
- #4 (LDPE) - Example: Squeezable Condiment Bottles
- #5 (PP) - Example: Medicine Bottles
- #6 (PS) - Example: Take Out Containers
- #7 (MISC) - Example: Sippy Cups
If you have a plastic that seems like it fits in one of these categories, but doesn’t have the symbol and number - IT CAN NOT BE RECYCLED! This is because they won’t know how to properly process these items.
The remaining items need to go in the trash. That was, until TerraCycle found a way to recycle the “non-recyclable”. They have developed a system to recycle anything! I find this incredible and am so thankful that someone decided to dedicate time and energy to solving this problem.
There are free programs funded by companies that want to support consumers in recycling their products. You can view all the free programs here. Many programs fill up and have wait lists. If or when you join one of these programs, you will be able to print free shipping labels to mail in your recyclables.
The paid programs are a great option for those items you can’t recycle in the free programs. This works by purchasing a Zero Waste Box. You can view all the box categories here. The more specific the box, the more affordable. Boxes come with a free shipping label to return to TerraCycle via FedEx.
I now have three collection systems at home - trash, recycling, & TerraCycle! I have personally used these boxes:
- All-In-One Box: Great for those miscellaneous items!
- Art Supplies Box: Empty paint tubes, tape, paint brushes, etc
- Bathroom Separation Box: Human hair, razors, loofahs, etc
- Fabrics & Clothing Box: Ripped clothes, blankets, etc
- Garage Separation Box: Sporting goods, garden products, etc
- Kitchen Separation Box: String cheese wrappers, etc
- Toys Box: Broken toys, cards, packaging, etc
You will notice that the Zero Waste Boxes aren’t cheap. If you are interested in utilizing TerraCycle’s service, but feel it is outside your budget consider teaming up with a friend and splitting the cost. Another great option is to look for local TerraCycle collection boxes that are FREE to the community.
Community Terracycle Boxes
There are multiple FREE Terracycle Collection Boxes in the Madison, WI area. I’ve listed the ones I know of below. If you know of additional collection sites open to the public, email me and I will add them to this list!
Cottage Grove, WI
Piggly Wiggly (421 W Cottage Grove Rd)
Right Entrance - Sponsored by Me (Jaime Declutters)
Candy & Snack Wrapper Box
- Individual, multipack and family-size snack bags and wrappers, including chip, candy and granola wrappers.
Monona Library (1000 Nichols Rd)
Lower Level by Vending Machines - Sponsored by Winnequah Elementary School
D’Addario Instrument Strings Recycling Program
- Instrument strings and clippings from ANY string instrument and ANY brand
- Packaging from D’Addario strings
The Brita Brigade
- Brita dispensers, bottles, filters, filter packaging, faucet filtration systems, pitchers
Tom’s Of Maine Natural Care Recycling Program
- Any brand mouthwash bottles and caps, deodorant containers and caps, toothpaste tubes and caps, soap packaging, floss containers, toothbrushes
Energy Bar Wrapper Brigade
- Any Brand foil-lined energy bar, granola bar, meal replacement bar, protein bar, and diet bar wrappers
- Clif Bar & Co wrappers from Clif Bars, Luna Bars, MOJO, Builders, Clif Organic Trail Mix Bars, Crunch, Clif Kid Z-Bar, Kits Organic, Clif Kid Z-Fruit, Shot Bloks, Shot Gels and Drinks
- Pouches from Clif Organic Energy Food
MOM Brands Cereal Bag Brigade
- ANY brand plastic cereal bags and cereal bag liners
Entenmann’s Little Bites Pouch Brigade
- ONLY Entenmann’s Little Bites plastic Pouches
Personal Care and Beauty Brigade
- ANY brand hair care packaging
- ANY brand skin care packaging
- ANY brand cosmetics packaging
- ANY brand Any Size
GoGo SqueeZ Brigade
- ANY brand healthy snack plastic pouches and caps
Drink Pouch Brigade
- ANY brand aluminum and plastic drink pouches (no need to remove straws)
- ANY brand drink pouches with spouts