Salvage firm to pay for your lolly wrappers

By Ben Chapman-Smith

TerraCycle founder Tom Szaky is considered a world leader in in eco-capitalism.
TerraCycle founder Tom Szaky is considered a world leader in in eco-capitalism.

A fast-growing global company which salvages non-recyclable waste items and turns them into new products is about to be launched in New Zealand.

TerraCycle, which was founded in 2001 and operates in 23 countries, will kick off in New Zealand today.

The business works with major brands around the world to sponsor free collection programmes for rubbish such as cigarette butts, dirty nappies and chewing gum, which would otherwise end up in landfill.

Its New Zealand arm will focus on gathering confectionery wrappers by getting members of the public to send them to collection points by freepost.

For every wrapper returned, TerraCycle will donate 2c to the school or charity of the collector's choice.

Founder and chief executive Tom Szaky said launching TerraCycle in New Zealand was the first step in an aggressive expansion into the Asian region.

"New Zealand makes a lot of sense because the people have a deep care for the environment. It's somewhere we can build a good base from and then expand into other markets from there."

TerraCycle has partnered with Cadbury owner Mondelez, which is funding the local platform for collecting lolly wrappers from the public. Waste will be stored in a factory until there is enough to be sent on for cleaning and recycling into new products.

TerraCycle provides the infrastructure but owns none of the manufacturing equipment.

Mr Szaky, who is considered a world leader in eco-capitalism, said his sights were set on finding new partners in New Zealand who would take ownership of the different types of waste they produced.

The 31-year old is in the country this week and wants to spend his time meeting potential partners, including one in the tobacco industry.

"Our goal is to grow this programme to collect even more waste. It just gets bigger and bigger every year."

TerraCycle typically works with 20 to 30 partners in each country. Brands that have signed up globally include Kraft Foods, Nestle, Mars and L'Oreal.

Szaky founded TerraCycle while only a first-year student at Princeton University. The business is headquartered in Trenton, New Jersey.

- NZ Herald

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