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How To Recycle (& Reuse) Plastic Bags So They Stay Out Of The Landfill

Plastic was made to last forever, but the sad reality is most of it is used only once before being tossed in the trash. And plastic bags are one of the most prevalent sources of single-use plastic out there. In this guide, we'll explain what makes these bags so harmful to the environment and share ways to recycle them so they don't end up in the landfill—or worse, in the environment.

How plastic bags harm the planet.

We use an estimated one million plastic bags worldwide every minute, and they last an average of just 12 minutes before being thrown away. Most of these bags are made from either No. 2 high-density polyethylene (HDPE) or No. 4 low-density polyethylene (LDPE) and linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE). (Grocery and retail shopping bags are typically made of HDPE, whereas plastic films like the ones you find on dry cleaning are made of LDPE or LLDPE.) These soft plastics are made of fossil fuels, so they emit greenhouse gases at every stage of their life cycle—down to when they're baking in the sun in a landfill, where they can take anywhere from 50 to 1,200 years to fully decompose.

Plastic bags not only contribute to climate change; they pollute the planet. These bags are thin and lightweight enough to end up in places they shouldn't be, like our oceans. Floating in the ocean with direct and consistent exposure to sunlight, plastic breaks down into microplastics that are then consumed by animals big and small. Research has found that 60% of fish studied globally contain microplastics, and whales have been discovered dead with stomachs full of plastic waste. Humans also consume microplastics in food and drinking water, and these tiny particles have now been detected in our blood for the first time.

Clearly, the same durability that makes plastic so convenient for consumers makes it extremely hard to break down in the environment. Recycling is one way to keep these bags in circulation for longer so they don't end up as planet-warming pollution.

How plastic recycling works.

Most curbside bin programs collect rigid plastics (think water bottles, takeout containers). These plastics are sent to recycling facilities where they are cleaned, processed, and sorted by their type. Each category of plastic is then shredded and cleaned before being melted down and compressed into tiny pellets that can be reused to make new products. The pellets generated via the recycling process aren't used to create the same plastic item as its original form, notes Stephanie Hicks, materials sourcing manager at Trex, a decking company that uses recycled materials. Instead, they are purchased in bulk and turned into materials like car parts, furniture, or clothing. Now, you might assume that thin plastic bags can be recycled using the same process. And who could blame you; recycling rules are confusing! A recent survey commissioned by recycling program Covantra revealed that most Americans are guilty of placing things that aren't recyclable in the recycling bin (otherwise known as "wishcycling"). But unfortunately, throwing plastic bags in the bin with hard plastics puts a strain on recycling systems. "Many people think that since other types of plastic (namely No. 1 and No. 2) are recycled through municipal programs, that means plastic bags are also accepted," says Alex Payne, North American public relations manager at recycling company TerraCycle. "This is false and actually leads to the bags clogging the highly tuned recycling machinery, leading to losses in time, money, and the otherwise recyclable material that the plastic bags become intermingled with." The extra labor required to fix the machinery and the equipment downtime makes recycling programs less profitable over time.

Ways to recycle plastic bags.

While you shouldn't toss bags in with your other recyclables, there are a few other options for keeping them out of landfills and the environment. Here are three to look into:

1. Take them back to the grocery store.

Many grocery and retail stores have designated drop-off receptacles conveniently located near the store entrance. Some receptacles also accept other types of plastic film, including cereal box liners, produce bags, and even dry-cleaning bags. If your local store doesn't have a drop-off program, suggest one and help make a positive change in your community.

2. Look for a corporate recycling program in your area.

Companies like Trex collect their materials through public drop-off bins where consumers can discard their plastic film to be repurposed. They currently have a network of about 32,000 collection locations at stores and distribution centers across the United States and Canada. Check out the full list here to see if there's one in your area.

3. Use a mail-in recycling program.

TerraCycle also offers mail-in recycling programs for certain pesky packaging that isn't collected curbside. Check out what's collected in their free mail-ins here, and learn about their recycling boxes that are available for purchase here. All of these recycling programs help ensure there is no contamination between recyclable and non-recyclable materials, resulting in a clean recycling stream.

What to do with plastic bags before recycling.

Like with common recyclables, Payne notes that plastic bags should be clean and dry and free of any debris, such as receipts, adhesive labels/stickers, etc. before recycling. If bags are not completely clean of food residue, they risk being sent to landfills.

Repurposing plastic bags at home.

It's important to remember that Recycling alone will not save the planet. We have to focus first on Reducing and Reusing our bags and treat recycling as the last resort it is intended to be. On the reuse front, there are many ways to give plastic bags a second or even third life at home. Start by unlearning the notion that they are single-use and continuing to use them for groceries until they can no longer withstand the weight. They can also be used for:
  • Lining waste bins
  • Covering plants to protect them from frost
  • Soaking your showerhead to descale
  • Stuffing them into shoes to help hold their shape
  • Separating wet stuff from dry in your pool/beach bag
  • Storing a few in the car for emergency waste needs
  • Keeping your shoes away from your clothes in your suitcase
  • Keeping your brushes and rollers from drying out in at-home paint jobs
  • Storing small items such as holiday decorations, string lights, etc.
  • DIY crafts with kids

How to avoid plastic bags in the first place.

Ditching the plastic bags in favor of something reusable is an easy, actionable way to reduce your impact. Not only are cotton or heavier plastic reusable bags more durable and reliable, making your groceries more likely to survive the trip home, but they cut down on plastic litter on land and in our waters. At home, consider using reusable produce bags and sparing all of that clingy plastic film from going to waste. It should be noted that the production of reusable bags has an environmental footprint as well, so be mindful of how many you continue to add to your collection. (Remember: The most sustainable choice is reusing the bag you already have, regardless of what it is.) When traveling, pack reusable bags in your carry-on or checked luggage so you can reduce plastic waste on the road. They come in handy for shopping, picnics, and stowing your day-trip essentials too. Of course, there will be times when you forget your bag and need to accept a plastic one. Don't lose sleep over it! Just remember to bring the plastic bag back to be recycled or put it to good (re)use.

The bottom line.

Plastic bags are everywhere, and diverting them from landfills is one way to keep our environment cleaner and healthier. Next time you accept a plastic bag, think about its environmental impact and vow to reuse or recycle it. While you're at it, avoid getting bags in the first place using these tips for avoiding waste in one of the trashiest industries: food delivery.

How Brands Are Celebrating Earth Day 2022

The initiatives, collections and products that support sustainable and eco-friendly practices. image.png Though April is unofficially Earth Month, many fashion and beauty brands still make efforts to become more sustainable and environmentally friendly in time for Earth Day on April 22. Popular British designer David Koma, for one, has partnered with women’s activewear brand Koral to create a 24-piece collection with a strong emphasis on sustainability. The RealReal and Gypsy Sport have collaborated for a unique capsule collection made entirely from repurposed denim. Meanwhile, beauty brands like Summer Fridays, Tower 28 and Murad, among others, will give their customers an opportunity to donate to a charity or initiative of their choice. Here, WWD looks at some of the brands celebrating Earth Day this year. Scroll on for more. Tower 28
The Los Angeles-based clean beauty brand has taken a pledge to transition all packaging to a minimum of 50 percent and up to 100 percent plastic made from post-consumer waste by 2023. Tower 28 kicked off this pledge by repackaging its bestselling SOS Daily Rescue Facial Spray. On April 22, for every order over $50 made on the brand’s official e-commerce site, $10 will be donated to a charity of the customer’s choosing, with more than 1,000 options to choose from including Heal the Bay, a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting the watersheds and coastal waters of Southern California. Stitch Fix x Green Matters Natural Dye Company
The online personal styling service has partnered with Green Matters Natural Dye Company, a manufacturer that uses pollution free colors, to launch a sustainably made and size-inclusive capsule collection from its brand Mohnton Made. Stitch Fix is donating all of the proceeds from the Earth Day collection to One Tree Planted, a global reforestation organization, as well as a donation of $25,000.

David Koma x Koral

British designer David Koma worked with Ilana Kugel, founder and creative director of Koral, to create a 24-piece “luxe-leisure” collection that includes sophisticated and versatile styles, with each piece designed using premium Italian French Terry and Koral Blackout fabric. The Koral Blackout fabric is sustainably made in the U.S. with solar panel technology, produced with local water that is treated and returned to the environment, made with biodegradable fabric to reduce landfill waste and designed for durability and longevity to reduce fast fashion waste.

Summer Fridays

For the month of April, beauty brand Summer Fridays launched a limited-edition shirt called Take Care of the Earth Long Sleeve, which is made from 100 percent cotton in a sustainable, eco-friendly factory in Los Angeles. The shirt is available on the brand’s website for $60. Additionally, Summer Fridays is partnering with Heal the Bay all throughout April. Through the end of the month, customers can support the nonprofit organization by opting-in to donate money. The brand’s popular Light Aura Vitamin C + Peptide Eye Cream also comes in its new tree-free paper box.

Gypsy Sport x The RealReal

Rio Uribe has partnered with The RealReal to create a capsule collection made entirely from repurposed blue denim. The collaboration is comprised of nine genderless styles made from denim that otherwise couldn’t be recirculated for sale on The RealReal. Some of the pieces include reworked classic jeans, jackets, shorts, a zip corset, a minidress and miniskirt, with sizes ranging from XS to 2XL. The Gypsy Sport and The RealReal collection is available exclusively on The RealReal’s official website as of April 18 and in-store at the Brooklyn location.


In its efforts to create timeless pieces, Rails created an Eco-Collection, which features many of its classic products made from recycled and organic materials. Each season, Rails will continue to add more styles to the collection with this eco-focused approach. Rails has also partnered with the world’s best denim mills to create eco-friendly denim fabrics and Wrap Certified factories to produce the products. It has also eliminated single-use plastic consumption and has adopted the use of recycled materials for packaging. Princess Polly
Popular Australian e-tailer Princess Polly created an Earth Club program in efforts to become more eco-friendly and sustainable. Additionally, the brand is trying to produce its products with sustainable materials such as recycled polyester, recycled nylon and organically grown cotton. Ahead of Earth Day on April 22, Princes Polly launched a new Curve collection, with sizes ranging from 14 to 20 (U.S. sizing), consisting of all sustainable pieces. The brand is also partnering with Lonely Whale, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to keep plastic out of the ocean, to donate a portion of their funds to this effort.


This month, skin care brand Murad is partnering with TerraCycle to divert plastic waste from landfills while turning it into new recycled products. With the Murad Recycling Program, the brand is now providing its customers the opportunity to recycle its product packaging while earning charitable donations for nonprofit organizations as well. Consumers can sign up on the Murad program page or TerraCycle program page to download a pre-paid shipping label to mail in their Murad empties.


In honor of Earth Day’s challenge to “Invest in Our Planet,” the Brooklyn-based hair care brand has announced that it is officially Climate Neutral Certified. This means Amika will measure its 2021 greenhouse gas emissions, purchase eligible verified carbon credits to offset that footprint and implement plans to reduce emission next year and beyond.


Ugg has introduced its second carbon-neutral Icon-Impact collection for spring as well as a new, first classic style for fall 2022 made from sheepskin sourced from farms that practice regenerative agriculture. The second collection features three styles, the Fluff Yeah Terry, Fuzz Sugar Terry Slide and Fuzz Sugar Terry Cross Slide, all made from low-impact materials with offsets purchased for the small number of emissions they create, making the materials carbon neutral. From April 18 to 29, Ugg has partnered with One Tree Planted to plant trees across the globe (3,950 in the Pacific Northwest in the U.S. and 10,000 in England), which will create the potential to absorb six million pounds of carbon dioxide or more in the next 20 years.


Makeup brand Beautyblender introduced its new recycling program in partnership with Top Rock Renewables to keep used Beautyblender sponges out of landfills. The blenders will instead go to a 22 megawatt waste-to-energy power plant that powers approximately 14,000 homes per year and reduces greenhouse gas emissions by roughly 249,100 tons per year. Additionally, Beautyblender launched the Bio Pure blender in a green color, replacing the majority of its materials with renewable plant-based pre-polymer for the foam.

Physicians Formula

To support Earth Day, beauty brand Physicians Formula will launch a limited-edition Butter Earth Day Collection, shining a light on EarthDay.org’s ongoing global environmental initiatives. In the last year, Physicians Formula has been supporting Earth Day by driving awareness, collecting proceeds and planting trees around the world. The brand designed the new collection with recyclable components and reduced packaging. It has also implemented improved manufacturing protocols to save energy, recycle and reduce waste. The Butter Earth Day Collection includes a Butter Bronzer and Butter Blush, available now exclusively at Walgreens.


  On top of recently introducing its RefRecycling, a program that takes in pre-loved Reformation pieces in exchange for store credit, the popular sustainable apparel brand has also made T-shirts in honor of Earth Day. Half the proceeds from every T-shirt sold online will go to Canopy, a nonprofit that works to protect the world’s forests, species and climate, as well as help advance indigenous communities’ rights. Additionally, for every Earth Day T-shirt sold, half the proceeds will also go to nonprofit initiatives doing good for the earth.

JW Pei

Starting April 22, the celebrity-favorite vegan handbag label will launch a capsule collection made entirely from recycled bottles. The limited-edition knit tote is available in four different colorways and retails for $39.

Dog food brand celebrates Earth Month with sustainable initiatives

PITTSBURGH — To celebrate Earth Month, Tailored® Pet, a direct-to-consumer (DTC), personalized dog food brand, is committing to several sustainable actions to help pet parents reduce their environmental impact. The company’s actions include the use of recyclable packaging and carbon-neutral shipping. Besides its new products, Tailored Pet aims to reduce packaging waste through its partnership with TerraCycle. TerraCycle explores ways to reclaim or convert hard-to-recycle materials that appear in pet food packaging. “With Tailored, savvy pet parents can provide their pups with the best nutrition without guilt over the waste produced by food packaging,” said Annina Silverman, chief marketing officer of Tailored Pet. Tailored Pet’s program with TerraCycle allows free participation through which consumers can collect empty pet food bags and ship them to TerraCycle for recycling. Within its packaging, every first order of the company’s pet food comes with a biodegradable scooper made from 100% bamboo, to reduce the need for plastic food scoopers. "We're proud give our pet parents the opportunity to divert waste from landfills by offering them a simple way to responsibly dispose of their pet food packaging," Silverman said. "In addition, unlike many other DTC pet food brands, our veterinarian-approved recipes do not require refrigeration, and therefore, do not need dry ice or insulating packaging during shipping, which can be environmentally toxic.” The company is also committed to offsetting 100% of its carbon emissions from product deliveries. Tailored Pet invests in projects that aim to neutralize greenhouse gas emissions. To further this commitment, the company has partnered with organizational climate action company, Bluesource®. Through the partnership, Tailored Pet and Bluesource will aid in sustainable forest management, which includes supporting verified urban forests and programs designed to reduce and prevent greenhouse gas emissions. "At Tailored, it's critically important to us that we not only nourish the pups we serve with high-quality nutrition customized for their best health, but we also do so in an environmentally-friendly way," Silverman explained. "Our carbon offset program comes at no extra cost to pet parents and is simply a way we can help to lighten our carbon footprint and give pet parents another reason to feel good about their choice to feed Tailored to their fur babies." Among the company’s environmentally friendly programs and partnerships, Tailored Pet is debuting new initiatives to celebrate Earth Month. Consumers who order during April will receive a free waste bag holder made of 100% sustainable materials. The company has also extended its 50% discount on first-time pet food subscriptions using the code TAILORED50, to increase consumer awareness of sustainability in pet ownership. To help dog parents celebrate Earth Month with their dogs, Tailored Pet recently launched new daily dental chews, which is formulated with plant-based proteins, as well as a line of soft and chewy treats. Read more about sustainability in the pet food and treat industry.

5 top tips for string players to live a more eco-friendly life

small but effective measures for string players to help reduce their impact on the environment
The calendar seems crammed with ’Hallmark Holidays’ these days: Friendship Day, Grandparents Day, even National Chocolate-Covered Cashews day (count me in!). On 22 April we are called to celebrate Earth Day, a very important date which has been observed in the US since 1970 and worldwide since 1990. On Earth Day 2016, 175 countries signed the Paris Agreement. Dedicating a special day to increasing climate awareness is fantastic, but seeing green companies and eco activists mark the event in impressive ways can make our own small actions feel insignificant in comparison. I’m here to encourage you that small changes can make a big difference! If you know me, you’ll know one of my favourite eco quotes is this:
’We don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly.’ - Anne-Marie Bonneau, The Zero Waste Chef
If we have any chance of reversing global warming then EVERY day should be Earth Day! But what can we string players be doing to help reduce our impact on the environment and help protect our ailing planet? Here are my 5 top tips for string players to live a more eco-friendly life: 1. Keep a reusable bag on/in your instrument case Most low-waste advocates recommend keeping reusable bags in your handbag or car, ready for any situation. If you’re anything like me, you feel like a turtle without its shell when your instrument isn’t on your back! So why not attach a reusable bag to your case too, or keep one in the music pocket? 2. Go digital Whether your students have forgotten their books again or you’ve been sent some music to prepare for your next concert, ask yourself if photocopies are necessary or whether viewing the music digitally could serve you just as well. Most print-outs are only used for a few minutes anyway! If printing is a necessity, keep a stash of scrap paper next to your printer - it’ll be just as easy to grab as a fresh piece. When you go to watch concerts, make the most of digital tickets and programme notes too. 3. Second-hand sheet music Most of us wouldn’t think twice about buying new when it comes to sheet music, but why not check eBay and other second-hand retailers next time you decide to expand your library? You may find some fun annotations from previous owners, and sending a few pennies someone’s way as they clear out their own collection of scores could really make their day. This tip works both ways: treat yourself to an afternoon (OK, probably a week… or a few months!) of playing through your old sheet music and decide what could bring more joy to someone else – you may even find some duplicates! In decluttering your own library, you’ll not only be able to find your favourite pieces more easily, your old music can bring joy to others. 4. Second-hand instruments This will sound like a no-brainer to most, especially if you’re sitting at home next to a beloved relic from the 1800s, but it’s easy to forget that pre-owned student instruments exist too. Beginners at the comprehensive school I teach at are given free instruments, all of which used to be ordered brand new. I’ve recently taken to scouring Facebook Marketplace for instruments instead and, as young people become more and more concerned about the environment, my students have loved taking receipt of their pre-loved instruments. It also liberates the people clearing space in their cupboards, knowing the instrument they felt guilty about neglecting has gone to an enthusiastic new learner! 5. Donate your old strings As a professional performer, I mainly change my strings due to their tone having diminished rather than because they’ve snapped. Since even a dull high-quality string will easily out-shine a low-cost beginner one, I often donate my old strings to students. It’s amazing the difference one good string can make to the sound of a student-level instrument! If you live in the US, you may also live near a Terracycle string recycling point – find out here.
For day-to-day decisions in all areas of life, keep zero-waste champion Bea Johnson’s 5 Rs in mind. Follow these in order: Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rot. If we all work together to make better choices, we can move towards a better future where music can thrive on a thriving planet. (And if anyone wants to join me in celebrating National Chocolate-Covered Cashews day, it falls on Earth Day eve!) Lucia D’Avanzo-Lewis is a London-based freelance violinist and teacher with a passion for low-waste living. Find her blog at EcoNotes.co.uk or find her on Facebook at Lucia’s EcoNotes.


Murad Prioritizes Sustainability by Launching Free National Recycling Program with TerraCycle®. Wellness for people, wellness for planet. TRENTON, N.J. , April 20, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- In celebration of Earth Month, leading clinical skincare brand, Murad, is partnering with international recycling leader TerraCycle® to divert plastic waste from landfills while turning it into new recycled products. Through the Murad Recycling Program, the brand is now providing customers with the unique opportunity to recycle Murad product packaging while earning charitable donations for non-profits in the process.

GC, D’Addario Partner on String Recycling Event

As part of its spring Guitar-A-Thon 2022, and in celebration of Earth Day, Guitar Center has partnered with D’Addario on a special event. From now through May 4, any customer who brings in a guitar for a Platinum Setup will receive complimentary D’Addario premium replacement strings — either XS (electric/acoustic) or NYXL (bass) strings — as part of the guitar tune-up with the old strings being recycled. The promotion will run at all GC locations nationwide. This event is part of D’Addario’s Playback string recycling program, as well as Guitar Center’s year-round string recycling initiative, which has seen more than 1.9 million strings recycled since the program’s inception — approximately 543,484 strings recycled in 2021 alone. These efforts are accomplished with the help of global recycling organization TerraCycle, which specializes in handling hard-to-recycle materials. As musical instrument strings are not recyclable through local municipal recycling programs, an estimated 1.5 million pounds of instrument string metal is landfilled each year, material that could be recycled thanks to specialized organizations like TerraCycle. “We have run Earth Day Weekend string recycling/replacement events in past years, and this year we decided to expand it through all of our spring Guitar-A-Thon to give more musicians a chance to participate,” said Neil Potter, Guitar Center’s director of rentals and repairs. “We thank everyone who continues to turn to their local Guitar Center locations for recycling their used strings all year long, and we thank D’Addario and TerraCycle for their role in this event. Recycling is always the right choice ecologically, and we encourage all guitarists to choose this option to do their part to help our planet. We are looking forward to serving our customers with Platinum Setups and new premium strings from D’Addario this Guitar-A-Thon.

U. will participate in program with Gillette, TerraCycle to encourage recycling of razors on campus

Rutgers recently joined the Gillette University Razor Recycling program, which encourages students to recycle their used razor products for a chance to win prizes throughout the year in the program’s sweepstakes. The program, which is run by Gillette, works in partnership with TerraCycle, a recycling company that works toward eliminating waste. The partnership has created the world’s first national razor recycling program, which works to help recycle approximately 2 billion razors that are thrown away each year, according to the program’s website. “Razors are an often overlooked waste stream because of their inability to be recycled through traditional methods, like your town’s curbside recycling program,” said Mary Ellen Dowd, a communications associate at TerraCycle. “Programs like this one give the consumer the opportunity to divert their razors from landfill while turning them into new, recycled products.” Dowd said the program will work with universities by allowing students to register with their college emails, which will allow them to enter the sweepstakes for prizes. The students who enter the program can then find their local public drop-off location where they can dispose of their used disposable razors, replaceable-blade cartridge units and associated packaging at any participating location near their campus. “Once collected, the razors and their associated plastic packaging are cleaned and sorted by material composition to be later broken down and remolded into new recycled products,” Dowd said. She said that through the sweepstakes, the program has offered various prizes for college students to win, including tickets to NFL games at Gillette Stadium in Massachusetts and other various Gillette products. Dowd said the idea for the partnership between Gillette and TerraCycle to collaborate with universities came from their hope to engage college students in razor recycling. The participation of Rutgers students and other university students across the country is vital for the success of this purpose, she said. She said the recycling programs run by TerraCycle are grassroots, community-based efforts, and all students at the University are encouraged to participate in the recycling program for the opportunity to divert a waste stream from landfills, which are already overcrowded. Tom Szaky, founder and CEO of TerraCycle, said the organization’s mission is to "eliminate the idea of waste" and provide solutions to help encourage people to recycle items that do not seem to be traditionally recyclable curbside. “Through our partnership with Gillette, we are working to inspire Rutgers students to rethink what is waste as well as help foster awareness that solutions do exist for items that may seem otherwise unrecyclable,” Szaky said.

5 NJ Burger King stores first in world to offer reusable packaging

Five Burger King outlets in northern New Jersey offer customers the chance to purchase their food and drinks in reusable containers through a first-of-its-kind partnership with Loop, a reusable packaging program by Trenton-based TerraCycle in partnership with a coalition of manufacturers and retailers. After finishing their meals, customers can return the reusable container to the Loop Return Point at the store to be cleaned and reused. Customers will be charged a $2 deposit upon purchase on each item, and will receive a refund once their package is returned. Participating Burger Kings include 1088 Broadway, Bayonne; 118 Central Ave., Clark; 1022 East Route 18, East Brunswick; 751 Harrison Ave.; Harrison; and 1822 Springfield Ave., Maplewood. Loop SVP Marketing and Platforms Heather Crawford said consumer buy-in to the pilot program, which launched in January and will go on for at least six months, has been high. “Consumer response in the early days has been really strong. We’ve heard from consumers that they prefer the design and functionality of the reusable containers to the disposable ones,” Crawford said. The Burger King partnership is part of a larger macro-series of launches in the next few months, including upcoming programs with Walgreens and other big box retailers. Loop recently launched in 25 Fred Meyer stores, a Kroger grocery banner, in Portland, Ore.; and before that launched internationally in France and the U.K., among others. While Loop isn’t calculating the environmental impact of the five North Jersey stores, it’s working with Burger King on projections of what the program would look like at scale. Predictions are based on the consumer response so far. “One of the educational barriers we need to get passed is what does it mean to borrow a cup instead of bring your own reusable … Educating consumers has been an educational task for the marketing team and the teams crafting the marketing,” Crawford said. Consumers in states with bottle deposits — five or 10 cents on glass and plastic bottles — are more familiar with the concept than those without bottle deposits, Loop has found. “Loop is the next siege in the evolution of how we manage the water crisis. One of the ways is the product never becomes waste at all – it instead can be reused,” Crawford said.

Babybel launches comprehensive packaging recycling program

For example, the cellophane, netting and labels will be transformed into plastic pellets that will be used to make other reusable plastic objects.
Part of the Bel Brands USA family, Babybel has announced a national recycling program for all packaging in the US with international recycling leader, TerraCycle. “Across our entire business at Bel, we are working to reduce the impact our products and processes have on the environment. And while we work to provide 100% recyclable or compostable packaging, we’re thrilled to offer consumers a way to recycle our current Babybel packaging in partnership with TerraCycle,” says Melanie Nemoy, Babybel brand director. U.S. consumers can participate in the Babybel Recycling Program in three simple steps:
  • Sign up on the TerraCycle program page at
  • Save the nets, labels, metal fasteners, cellophane, wax and/or pouches from Babybel products and put them in a box.
  • When you’re ready to send in a package, print out a prepaid shipping label available on the website, place it on the well-sealed box and mail it to TerraCycle free of charge. To transport waste in the most efficient and environmentally friendly way possible, consumers are encouraged to ship their packages only when they are full.
For any shipment of packaging meeting TerraCycle program guidelines, consumers earn points that can be redeemed for a donation to a non-profit organization of their choice. Once collected, the packaging will be cleaned, melted and remolded to make new recycled products. For example, the cellophane, netting and labels are transformed into plastic pellets that will be used to make other reusable plastic objects, such as garden tools or park benches. Metal fasteners are separated from the labels and melted down to make gaskets, nuts or bolts. “With this recycling program, Bel Brands USA is offering a powerful, sustainable option to responsibly dispose of Babybel packaging,” says Tom Szaky, TerraCycle founder and CEO. “Consumers can now enjoy their favorite bite-sized snacks and easily reduce waste all while being rewarded for minimizing their environmental impact.” The Babybel Recycling Program is open to any interested individual, school, office, or community organization. For more information on TerraCycle’s recycling programs, visit www.terracycle.com.

What Do Beauty and Baby Food Have In Common? They Produce a Ton of Waste

Two industries that produce heavy waste are taking steps to clean up image.png
On average, every American produces 1,609 pounds of garbage every year--and on the global level, we produce 2.12 billion tons of waste every year. You read that right. And when it comes to plastic, 91% of plastic waste hasn't been recycled.

On a daily basis, many of us try to do right by the environment. We recycle. We plant trees. We minimize water usage. We carpool. But when it comes to waste, the current efforts just don't balance out the monstrous mountain of trash that is created yearly. Sustainability is - a lot of times - easier said than done. But some brands are taking on the urgent challenge, solving problems, setting standards, and making meaningful sustainable decisions that are much easier for the rest of us.

Take Palette by pak. This beauty start-up is leading the sustainable beauty packaging revolution and is on a mission to make beauty reusable. Not an easy feat when you consider all the disposable plastic tubes, pumps, droppers, containers, and bottles that are used in just one day in the average person's beauty and personal care routine. Disrupting a billion-dollar disposable beauty industry, Palette is using innovation, form, function, and design to provide refillable, washable, and reusable beauty products to stop disposable beauty in its tracks.

How big is the problem? About 120 billion units (yes billion) of disposable beauty and personal care products are produced every year. If you need a visual of how big this actually is, it's enough to fill the entire Pacific Ocean each year. Considering that recent statistics reveal that as much as 95% of this packaging is not actually getting recycled, it doesn't take long for alarm bells to start going off.

Tackling disposable beauty one category at a time, Palette is first addressing a very important subset of the greater single-use and disposable beauty packaging problem--travel size and minis.

Most people don't know that tiny plastics like single-use travel size and minis do not get recycled at all due to their small size and go straight into our landfills, our waterways, and oceans. This is why California and New York have banned travel-sized products in hotels beginning in 2023 and 2025 respectively.

Another industry that is big on single-use items and is being shaken up? The baby food industry. It is projected to reach $96.3 billion by 2027 and currently lacks the same regulations and requirements as its baby formula counterparts.

What that means: Pretty much anything goes when it comes to how the food our little ones eat is packaged and processed, which not only means more waste, it can also lead to issues in brain development due to chemicals seeping into sauces and purees.

Brands like Cerebelly are keeping nutrition a top priority by making vegetables the first ingredient and reducing sugar. The food they offer is non-GMO, 100% plant-derived, dairy-free, gluten-free--and they're setting standards where none previously existed.

It is the first and only baby food brand to provide the 16 essential nutrients that are critical to brain development, which in itself is a big enough development; but they are also the first children's food brand to receive the Clean Label Project's Purity Award, which is given to products that are tested for over 400 contaminants and heavy metals.

While transparency and science are big wins, they're also leading the way in working with customers to reduce consumer waste. Through a partnership with international recycling leader, TerraCycle, which specializes in providing recycling solutions for typically unrecyclable waste, Cerebelly has achieved a major milestone of 100,000 baby food pouches recycled and, as of Earth Day 2022, Cerebelly's waste collection is expected to reach 110,000 pouches recycled.

Terracycle is hoping to help other baby food brands, too. Gerber currently has a recycling program with Terracycle to mail-in packaging that otherwise can't be recycled in local municipal programs. With prepaid shipping labels, you can send in your packaging for reprocessing. It's a start.

Thanks to companies like Terracycle, more than 200 trillion people around the world are now recycling, and they're aiming to eventually be able to "recycle everything"--a lofty goal worth pursuing.

Recycling reduces the needed amount of raw materials to be processed, therefore, reducing air and water pollution. It also positively affects climate change by saving energy and thus reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

It's vital for businesses to contribute to the sustainability of our planet. And while a lot of us try our best via sustainable habits, we want--and should--try to do more, and support brands that are not just solving problems, but setting the standards for us to follow in the future. As a mom of littles and a woman who likes a bold lip now and then, I'm keeping my eye on ways to reduce my waste.