1 - What is the Terra Cycle, how and where does it operates, and what exactly means the concept upcycle?
Terra Cycle creates green products from various types of materials of hard recycling, that do not have proper destination. It emerged in the U.S. nine years ago and firstly came to Brazil in late 2009. We are now present in 19 countries. It was a great idea of a 19 year old student named Tom Szaky from Princeton University in 2001. The focus of Terra Cycle are waste difficult to recycle , such as bag of chips, for example, solid plastic packaging. The idea is that discarded packaging will become raw material again, like buckets, displays, gifts and other plastic products, replacing virgin material and preventing that more natural resources are extracted. For this we have the Brigades of Planet Protectors, people who voluntarily collect materials difficult to recycle and send to be recycled or upcycled, which means that they are not recycled but turned into bags, boxes and shopping bags. We have the product categories we collect, the Brigades of food, biscuits, and now with this partnership with Coppertone (released last week), the first project within Terra Cycle of packaging for sunscreens or skin care. We will collect this packaging, the consumer, within the Brigades system will send them to us. The idea is to transform it into products, gifts that can be used by the brand itself.
2 - Do you have partnerships with large companies, what kind of products Terra Cycle produce to them? Where are they sold?
We design a catalog of products so that they have their own brand appeal. For example, to cosmetics - necessary, soap door, always a product that has to do with the brand. In the case of Pepsi are the backpacks used by children and adolescents, the main consumers of soft drinks. The idea is to develop products related to the target company. Currently, we sell these products in three websites selling online: The Greenvana, Gift Express and Walmart ecommerce .
3 - The companies in the cosmetics, toiletries and perfumery in Brazil already actuate in recycling and reverse logistics. How the packaging of the industry could be reused?
This is an industry that often works with very noble, because in the cosmetics, personal care and perfumery sells the product image also through the packaging. What is difficult in this industry is that, as she depends on the collecting, this material often ends up getting lost out there, in a cooperative, and this noble material ends up in a landfill. We have partnered with the Coppertone, the sunscreen packing is a material that has economic value, as long as separate. The big thing is to achieve this separation.
4 - Would you say that companies are prepared for the new National Policy on Solid Waste that will come into force in 2012? How can they prepare?
All of them are without knowing what to do. It was created five working groups in the Ministry of the Environment, for sectoral projects. This is a bill for 19 years, that dictates a number of responsibilities for the whole chain of consumption. It was approved, sanctioned by Lula on December 26, 2010. It became law in August 2011 and will go into effect next year, already with some responsibilities. The municipalities, for instance, will have to take care of landfills, manufacturers of chips, will have goals of collecting 5% to 10% and to do reverse logistics to somehow . They will have yet to provide collecting options to their customers, and prove this with reports to the authorities, under penalty of heavy fines.
5 - Do Terra Cycle guarantees 100% of fitness for this policy?
Depends, as the goals are not defined, we can not say that yes neither that not. It is a responsibility that the law already places to the companies - that they offer an alternative of disposal, or reverse logistics to their own packaging. After regulated, the law will take long to be applied, but in the next year, companies in general that are included in these five discussion groups in the ministry, will have already defined goals throughout 2012. Not only are consumer goods companies that are participating in these groups, but also the distribution channels. And it is not only the government, the municipality or the selling points that will be involved with the collection, the consumer will also have their share.
6 - The Brazilian current bills on shared responsibility of waste disposal does not encompass the type of work the Terra Cycle?
No, because today everything is focused on the recyclable waste. So from its inception, we did not want to compete. We work out in what is not recyclable to make them recyclable. Work on that and in plastic formulations so that they become recyclable.
7 - Does Terra Cycle provides any type of education in this area?
We dispose of 8000 voluntary collection points, in Amazonas, Para, in almost all Brazil. Thus, our work is very publicized because amongst the own participants. We are happy that we are in the main media and with the people who voluntarily engage in this work. But since we are a lean team, we go to events when we are invited. We attended packaging courses, about recycling, about national policies in this sense. We're talking a lot with local governments so that they incorporate this idea in public education. We begin now with a curriculum from th ear 1 to 9 in school. And we are struggling to turn this into agenda.
8 - Does the Brazilians are really interested in buying, bags, wallets, backpacks, with the advertising companies?
The upcycle idea is to take advantage of the the packaging as it comes, with his art, the design of the packaging in the product, or to have the products turned into raw material again and turn it into eco-friendly products, such as gifts. The profile of the public that seeks for this kind of product is the own public of the collecting - children generally. They feel they are collaborating. It is already a form of tanging encouraging them to collect more.
9 - How does it works the Terra Cycle Brigades and how, how the company gets its own sustainability?
We often joke that the Terra Cycle is the social network of waste. People find out and decide what kind of product they want to collect. Become leaders of the collecting. The webite of Terra Cycle contains an area of supply of promotional material to help expand this idea of collecting, to be posted whereever people walk by. To download is free.
We generate revenue from the sponsorship of brands. Our business is the developing of solutions for recycling discarded packaging of these sponsors.