Terracycle: Upcycling Plastic Bottles Into New Products.

August 26, 2008

About a month ago or so, the people from Terracycle sent me a box full of their products to try out. I have written about Terracycle before when talking about the lack of plastic recycling here in town, and I have always been envious that I had not thought of their idea – upcycling plastic soda/water bottles and milk jugs into 2-liter bird feeders and new packaging for worm poop compost or household cleaners. What a brilliant concept – take what most of us throw away and use it to your advantage to both A. reduce the amount of plastic going into the waste stream and B. reduce the amount of new materials needed to make your packaging. It really is a win-win situation, and I wish I had come up with the idea! The package they sent me was in a recycled cardboard box, which is great, and had a few of their products inside for us to try out. Here are our experiences with 3 of the products they sent:

Wild Bird Feeder



The bird feeder is made from 2-liter soda bottles, with two hooks at the top to hang it and a bird perch on the bottom for the birds to stand on while they eat. It comes with a piece of plastic that goes into the hooks so you can hang it from a nail, but our plastic piece broke after hanging for about 20 minutes. No worries, though, as I just took an old bungie cord and hooked the ends through the eyelets and hung the whole thing back up again. And while most of the birds around here are gigantic, the smaller ones have been enjoying their own private feeding frenzy right outside on our little patio.

Natural All-Purpose Cleaner



Their cleaners are packaged in old 1-liter plastic bottles with a spray head attached instead of the typical bottle cap. According to the label on the package, the ingredients are non-toxic, planet & people safe, never tested on animals, biodegradable, and contain no fragrances. I do wish they would give out the actual ingredients, but like Method, I guess they are concerned about people stealing their recipe. However, even with just that information, you know they are better than 90% of the toxic cleaners on the shelves today. This stuff cleaned our bathroom really well, and left everything nice and shiny – but odorless. I don’t really care for fake “clean” smells, so I was glad to not smell anything after cleaning.

All-Purpose Plant Food – From Worm Poop



This one was the big Kahuna – a full gallon of All-purpose plant food made from worm castings…otherwise known as poop. Supposedly there is enough plant food here for 2,500 square feet of coverage, which is way more than enough for us right now! I did use some in our tomato plant, so I am guessing the plant is enjoying the fresh worm leftovers. The package is an old 1 gallon plastic milk jug, which is a great use of old plastic instead of making new packaging for this product. I have a feeling this one will last until we have a big garden all our own to use it in!

I guess the best part of Terracycle’s products is that everything that they come in is on it’s second or third life…and they keep a ton of plastic out of our landfills. They reuse yogurt containers, soda bottles, juice drink pouches, and plastic bags to package their own products in, which makes sense on so many levels. Who needs virgin plastic to package cleaners or worm poop in? Nobody! That’s what makes these guys so great, and I hope we start seeing their products in more stores. Right now, their website lists some places you can buy their stuff online, but you might find it in your local hardware store as well. Kudos to Terracycle!

Filed in: Recycling • Tags: , ,

About the Author:

After a varied past of being a test driver for automotive television programs, a Hollywood studio lackey, and an online media sales director, David is now the publisher and editor of The Good Human. In his spare time he rides motorcycles, drinks good beer, and builds stuff in the garage. You can follow him on Twitter at @thegoodhuman or G+ at Google
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Comments (4)

  1. FFB says:

    Sounds like a great use existing plastics! I’ll have to keep an eye out for their products (we can use some plant food for our garden).

  2. Joe says:

    I’ve used their Window Cleaner and it’s awesome! They are also in the midst of manufacturing a recycled flower pot made from old computers, televisions, and office equipment. It’s called the “Urban Art Pot” and there are videos of it on YouTube.

  3. Albe says:

    Hi David,

    Thanks for the great reviews! We are really glad you enjoyed the samples! We love your site. Keep up the good work spreading the good word.

    Cheers,

    Team TC

  4. katsu says:

    Great job. I’m sure they’ll find a lot more great uses for recycled plastic!