Emory joins Gillette, TerraCycle recycling initiative following composting difficulties

Emory University recently became one of 37 colleges participating in the Gillette University Recycling Pilot Program in partnership with the recycling company TerraCycle, which specializes in handling hard-to-recycle materials. The program encourages students to recycle their used disposable razors, replaceable-blade cartridge units and associated packaging at public drop-off locations across the country. By joining the program, Emory will have the option to act as a drop-off location for razors. In a May 24 email to the Wheel, TerraCycle Senior Account Manager Marielle Christie wrote that if the University decides to act as a razor collection site, the location will be coordinated in the fall. Students who register for the program by June 3 will be entered in a raffle for the chance to win a year’s supply of Gillette or Venus razors, two tickets to an NFL game at Gillette Stadium or a heated razor. One winner from each school will be announced by the end of June, according to Christie. The university program — which is in its first year — was created in hopes of recycling the estimated 2 billion razors and refill blades thrown away each year in the United States, which Christie called a “waste epidemic.” “The recycling programs are grassroot, community-based efforts, so we encourage students to sign up and participate not only for the chances to win the prizes, but also to have the opportunity to divert this super unique and niche waste stream from the already-crowded landfills that we have in the U.S.,” Christie said. Christie explained that disposable razors are a “highly overlooked waste stream,” as they are made of both plastic and metal, and therefore cannot be recycled through traditional “curbside” methods in blue recycling bins. To avoid being landfilled, razors need to be collected with the intention of separating the metal and plastic components. “Through our partnership with Gillette, we are working to inspire Emory students to rethink what is waste, as well as help foster awareness that solutions do exist for items that may seem otherwise unrecyclable,” TerraCycle founder and CEO Tom Szaky wrote in a May 4 email to the Wheel.

Photo courtesy of Mr. TinDC/Creative Commons

Daniel Sagarna (24C) helped bring the program to Emory after his friend’s father, TerraCycle Chief Administrative Officer Richard Perl, asked him to raise awareness about the program on campus and gauge how receptive students were to the idea. Sagarna collected student signatures on a petition to get Emory involved with the program. The petition was then given to TerraCycle and University administration. Although Sagarna said the number of signatures was not disclosed to him, he noted that students generally supported the idea. “Whenever I would explain to someone one-on-one, face-to-face what the whole program partnership was, they thought, ‘This is a really good idea. This is something I also didn’t think about,’” Sagarna said. All Gillette products collected at the drop-off locations will be cleaned and sorted by material composition. The products will then be broken down and used by manufacturing companies to produce goods such as outdoor furniture, shipping pellets, storage containers, construction tubing and athletic fields. The idea behind the program is not new — Gillette first partnered with TerraCycle in 2019 to create the “world’s first national razor recycling program” and offer drop-off locations. However, the companies wanted to better reach the younger generation, which Christie said is more likely to prioritize sustainability. Gillette and TerraCycle were inspired to create a branch of the program and contest specifically dedicated to colleges. Sagarna agreed with Christie, explaining that teenagers and young adults were “given” environmental problems to solve. “It’s unfortunate, but it is up to us, because we’re going to be the people that are living here in 40, 50, 60 years,” Sagarna said. “The fact that we’re young, and we’re going to have more and more power as we grow up, it’s definitely great that they’re using that.” Emory’s involvement in the program follows two years of waste management issues. During the 2020-21 academic year, Emory’s compostable waste was landfilled, as the University’s former compost partner succumbed to compost market failures in September 2020. Without a compost partner amid the pandemic, all compostable waste was rerouted to the landfill. Emory’s reliance on single-use plastics — such as takeout containers and personal protective equipment — also increased during the pandemic. Pre-consumer material, which includes waste from food preparation that are disposed of before consumption, began being composted again in summer 2021 after Emory formed a new partnership with the waste management company Goodr. However, the University still faced composting difficulties during the 2021-22 academic year. All post-consumer materials, such as leftover food scraps and soiled napkins, from the Clairmont campus were landfilled due to residents not properly sorting their waste between designated bins. Clairmont compost was thus “contaminated” with non-compostable waste, according to a March 25 email to the Wheel by Associate Vice President for Facilities Management David Forbes. As a result, Goodr could not properly compost Clairmont’s post-consumer materials. Sagarna noted that although students can personally work to correctly sort their compost, he does not believe enough people will take it into their own hands. “At that point, you’ve got to really start changing the way that we think about [sorting and composting],” Sagarna said. “[Changing how we think about it] sort of does lie on the school a bit more, and changing the way that the school operates.” Joining the program brings Emory one step closer to becoming a sustainable institution, Sagarna added. “The goal is to eventually become as eco-friendly and sustainable as possible,” Sagarna said. “This definitely does pave the way for more things to come in the future.”

How to Recycle and Repurpose Used K-Cups

I'm a coffee nut, so I love all things coffee — especially brewing my own cup(s) at home in the mornings. And though Keurig is a popular favorite for many coffee-lovers like me since it allows for easy-to-make one-cup coffee (hello, afternoon fix!), its single-use pods are not exactly ideal for those trying to cut down on their waste and plastics. "As with most single-use products, durable, multiuse alternatives will always be more environmentally friendly," says Alex Payne, North American public relations manager at TerraCycle, a recycling company. "Waste-conscious consumers should be encouraged to brew coffee by the pot, but if they already have a coffee-pod machine in their home, they can try reusable coffee pods that can be filled with their favorite ground coffee." If you are the proud owner of a Keurig, don't worry, there are still plenty of ways to make sure you're being environmentally conscious while brewing your favorite drinks. Beyond using reusable pods with your own ground beans, you can often recycle K-Cups. Here's exactly what you should know about recycling K-Cups.

Are K-Cups Recyclable?

Yes, K-Cups are recyclable — to an extent. At the end of 2020, Keurig changed its formula to make Keurig K-Cup pods recyclable. According to the company, it chose polypropylene (#5 plastic) because "it is widely accepted for curbside recycling in a majority of communities across North America and there is growing demand for it as a recycled material." Keurig also recently introduced "easy-peel" lid technology on select items, and those lids feature a built-in tab that makes it simple and convenient to peel off and discard the foil lid. However, K-Cups are not recyclable in every community or location. Consumers have to check with their local recycling service.

How Do You Recycle K-Cups?

If K-Cups are recyclable in your community, just peel and discard the lid using the tab, then compost or discard the grounds and recycle the empty cup. If traditional recycling isn't available in your community, there are other ways to recycle through outside programs and recycling companies, too. TerraCycle, for instance, has a few recycling solutions for single-use coffee pods. Its programs — including its "Zero Waste Boxes" — help to fill in the gaps of what consumers can't recycle with their municipality's curbside program. "By recycling with TerraCycle, consumers not only keep waste out of landfills but they also keep the material in-use by manufacturers," Payne says. "Using post-consumer recycled material in new products proactively eliminates the need to extract additional fossil fuels from the earth."

How Can You Reuse and Repurpose K-Cups?

Traditional recycling isn't the only way to be sustainable with your coffee pods. Try reusing them for other purposes that have nothing to do with coffee. Use them as organizers for small objects — I personally like them to keep hold of bobby pins and hair ties or to sort change — as arts-and-craft projects (paint them! Trace them! Make a garland!); or, if you have a green thumb, use them as seed starters. Other ideas? Make mini popsicles or ice cubes in the freezer using the pods or use them as dip dishes (they're the perfect size for a side of ketchup or ranch, in my opinion). However you decide to repurpose your K-Cup containers, you can feel better knowing that you're getting more out of what was conceived to be a single-use plastic.

Los murcianos ya pueden reciclar sus maquinillas de afeitar desdecasa y evitar que acaben en el vertedero

El programa de reciclaje impulsa el envío gratuito de maquinillas de afeitar y recambios de todas las marcas

Tiendas, negocios y entidades de la ciudad pueden convertirse en puntos de recogida de maquinillas de afeitar y conseguir donaciones para organizaciones benéficas

Este programa de reciclaje es impulsado por TerraCycle, compañía especializada en el tratamiento de residuos difíciles de reciclar, junto con Gillette y Venus.

TerraCycle trial makes it easier to recycle

Ever wondered if you can recycle a Pringles® tube or your toothbrush? Well, you now have the chance to recycle everyday items that typically leave you scratching your head and are often hard to dispose of in a ‘green’ way. In a six-month trial, Ealing Council has teamed up with TerraCycle, a leading organisation dedicated to boosting recycling rates. The trial scheme has provided facilities to recycle a wide range of items not currently suitable for your blue bin.

La maquinilla de afeitar... ¿dónde reciclarla? ¿Y un bolígrafo?

El reciclaje de residuos domésticos es fuente habitual de dudas entre los ciudadanos sobre el contenedor concreto en el que deben ser depositados. Para solucionar el problema, hay campañas específicas para hacerse cargo de estos objetos una vez que han agotado su vida útil. Así, la tienda Al Gramo, del barrio pamplonés de Iturrama, ha sido el primer establecimiento de Navarra en sumarse a una iniciativa de la empresa TerraCycle para recolectar maquinillas de afeitar y sus recambios, de cualquier marca, para reciclarlos y evitar que acaben en el vertedero.

Takis Offers Recycling Program Through TerraCycle

Trenton, NJ — Barcel USA has partnered with international recycling company TerraCycle to offer consumers a free and simple way to recycle its Takis brand’s plastic packaging. By participating in the Takis Snack Recycling Program, consumers can earn TerraCycle points that they can choose to redeem for donations to a nonprofit organization or school of their choice. “We are thrilled to partner with TerraCycle to offer our consumers an easy and rewarding way to recycle the Takis snack packaging varieties,” says Sandra Peregrina, marketing director of salty snacks for Barcel USA. “Protecting our planet is so important to our brand and to our consumers, so we’re honored to offer this simple recycling solution for all of our intense Takis fans.” Consumers can make an account on TerraCycle.com, sign-up on the Takis Snacks Recycling Program page and mail in empty plastic packaging using provided prepaid shipping labels. Once collected, the packaging is cleaned and melted into hard plastic that can be remolded to make new recycled products. This program is not Barcel’s first sustainability initiative. According to the company, it has also implemented new technologies throughout its manufacturing process including a heat exchanger that repurposes heat to reduce overall energy expenditures and cleaning techniques to reduce water consumption. “The Takis brand is giving their consumers the unique opportunity to responsibly recycle their snack packaging,” says TerraCycle CEO and Founder Tom Szaky. “Participants in this recycling program can enjoy their favorite snack while minimizing their carbon footprint.”


TerraCycle’s come a long way since its humble origins in 2011. Then, the concept of recycling took the form of waste (feeding organic waste to worms) packaged in more waste (used soda bottles). Cut to 2022, and initiatives like Loop, a platform that allows brands to create reusable versions of their product’s packaging available at any retailer, and TerraCycle Global Foundation, which works to remove plastic from rivers and canals before it can reach the ocean, are well underway. But what business does a company that started with dirt have in the beauty industry? For Murad, a business pioneering the clinical skincare space since 1989, it’s a perfect match. “Dr. Murad’s life’s work is dedicated to helping people attain healthier skin and happier lives, and being able to put forth this partnership with TerraCycle strengthens our pledge to that,” explains Paul Schiraldi, Murad’s CEO. “Consumers are sharper than ever and interested in sustainability, so we wanted to make it easier for them to take care of their skin and the planet.” Partnerships with powerhouse brands like Garnier and pop-ups at Nordstrom locations for easy recycling drop-off prove TerraCycle’s appeal. For Murad specifically, the consumer journey starts once the product is finished. From here, consumers can mail in Murad product packaging using a prepaid shipping label. Once delivered, used packaging is remodeled for life as new product packaging. The brand’s inspiration came from customers, and their unwillingness to compromise. “We know being a sustainably conscious brand is important to our customers,” Schiraldi continues. “We didn’t want them to have to compromise, skin health vs. sustainability, so we merged the two.” By designing recycling processes and consumer-facing recycling programs on behalf of companies, TerraCycle skirts recycling’s notorious pain points by offering something refreshingly straightforward. TerraCycle sees its continued partnerships with beauty brands as good business. Tom Szaky, TerraCycle’s CEO and founder, explains. “Recycling is a business and like any other, it is driven by economics. Individual municipalities may not have recycling programs designed to process waste like hair gel tubes and caps, for instance, because there’s little profit to be made.” He continues, “However, since TerraCycle partners with brands who fund the research and development of innovative recycling techniques, we are able to engage more consumers directly through free recycling programs.” Since beauty and skincare are both categories tied intrinsically to the consumer’s personal choice, or as Szaky puts it “extensions of their own identities,” there’s a certain incentive to consume consciously—whether that means opting for less waste in purchasing, prioritizing “clean” formulations, or giving the product life after the last pump through recycling. Citing the logic of voting with one’s dollars, Szaky explains that the companies they choose to support are their ideals and values come to life. “Because of this additional psychic income from working with TerraCycle, brands across the consumer-packaged goods spectrum are eager to collaborate,” he explains. “This can take the form of supporting nonprofits through the donation incentive aspect of our free programs or creating recycled products, like playgrounds or durable outdoor furniture, made from the waste collected through these programs. These products are then donated to schools or nonprofit organizations on behalf of our brand partners.” Beyond the higher calling of proper recycling, beauty products pose an often-overlooked challenge with the complex rules and regulations that prohibit recycling on the municipal level. Some dark-colored shampoo bottles are unrecognized by sorting machines. Small pieces, think lids or caps, are likely to go undetected as well, ending up in landfills. For Murad, promising customers that they will do better in terms of environmental responsibility starts with packaging. Compostable shipping materials, replacing virgin plastics, and pursuing ingredient transparency are all recent initiatives. Thanks to the brand’s partnership with TerraCycle, Murad empties are coming back in their second life as raw materials, which will be turned into flooring tiles, storage bins, outdoor furniture, and so many other products. The clean revolution in skincare no longer stops at formulation. To be considered clean is to account for the life the product lives beyond its usage.

Recycling helps Scranton school win big

A school in Scranton received an award Monday for going above and beyond with its recycling efforts.
SCRANTON, Pa. — Some students in Scranton are taking a bite out of the landfill problem by recycling toothbrushes.
McNichols Plaza Elementary School recycled more than 400 toothbrushes, along with other dental items.
The south-side school won the Colgate Shoprite School Challenge.
The grand prize includes 70 desk and chair sets, as well as hundreds of backpacks along with pencil cases and pens.
Get this, the students recycled enough material that if stacked would be taller than the Statue of Liberty.
Congratulations to them!