TerraCycle’s Zero Waste Boxes offer recycling for once unrecyclable equipment

TerraCycle has created a range of “Zero Waste Boxes” designed to allow food manufacturers to recycle hair nets, earplugs, disposable gloves and safety equipment – items that aren’t collected by councils and waste management companies for recycling so are traditionally destined for landfills or incineration.

Zero Waste Boxes offer a comprehensive solution for equipment used in food-contact environments. These items are not recycled by councils or waste management companies as they are considered “hard-to-recycle” due to the mix of materials they contain which makes separating and processing them too complex and expensive.

The specialists in recycling “hard-to-recycle” waste does recycle these items, and the Zero Waste Boxes allow food manufacturers to offer a sustainable solution for these types of equipment.

The boxes, available to be purchased from the Zero Waste Box website, are delivered to the sites where staff can fill them with the accepted waste. Once full, the prepaid and pre-attached shipping labels are used to send the box back to TerraCycle where it will be sorted and the items sent for processing. The price of each Zero Waste Box covers the box, shipping, storage at the materials recovery facility and processing costs, as well as the costs of transporting and sorting the waste.

TerraCycle stores and aggregates the collected waste until the necessary volumes for processing have been achieved. The waste is then sorted into categories based on material composition. The different materials types are then sent to third-party processing partners that recycle the materials into usable forms.

With a growing spotlight on the waste crisis and corporate responsibility coming to the fore, the boxes provide a new solution that allows food manufacturers to continue using the equipment they need, whilst ensuring it has a second life once used.

Quorn Foods, leading producer of healthy and sustainable meat alternatives, uses the Disposable Gloves Zero Waste Box and the Centrifuge Tubes and Rigid Lab Plastics Zero Waste Box in its laboratories. They purchased the boxes to find a sustainable solution to dispose of the plastic waste used in their labs, including plastic gloves. By using the Zero Waste Boxes they have saved an estimated 1500 pairs from landfill or incineration. Through the Centrifuge Tubes and Rigid Lab Plastics Zero Waste Box they have ensured more than 500 pieces of single-use rigid plastic have been recycled too.

Mark Taylor, lead fermentation scientist at Quorn Foods said labs, by nature of their work, have a tendency to use a lot of single-use plastic.

“Whether it’s lab equipment itself or the gloves we use to protect ourselves, it’s part and parcel of lab work that plastic can be a necessity,” he said. “The trial with TerraCycle’s Zero Waste Boxes has so far been a great success.”

Simon Martin Farms, a dairy business located in Hampshire, has purchased Disposable Gloves Zero Waste Boxes for employees to ensure their nitrile gloves can be recycled. A pair is worn for each milking twice a day, making a recycling solution much-needed.

Owner of the farm, Sam Martin, said: “As a business we’re committed to reducing our waste, but there are certain types of equipment we have to use that we can’t just dispose of via our recycling partner or stop using altogether.

“Nitrile gloves are an absolute necessity for our work and the Zero Waste Boxes have made it very easy to recycle them. They have added to our growing list of initiatives driven by the environment, including our local milk vending machine which is solely based on reusable glass bottles.”

TerraCycle offers a range of Zero Waste Boxes that can be used in food manufacturing sites. These include the Safety Equipment and Protective Gear Zero Waste Box, the Disposable Gloves Zero Waste Box, the Disposable Gloves and Face Masks Zero Waste Box, and the Beard Nets and Hair Nets Zero Waste Box.

To find out more about TerraCycle’s Zero Waste Box solutions, or to purchase a box for your site, visit the website and use the code FOOD20 at checkout for 20% off.

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