TerraCycle Adds Tortilla, Cheese Packaging to Upcycling Efforts

TRENTON, NJ —  TerraCycle continues to expand its reach into all types of packaging waste with its latest collection programs for tortilla and cheese bags.

Tortilla brands Mission and Guerrero, both run by Gruma Corporation, package their tortillas and tostadas in low-density polyethylene (LDPE) plastic bags. While technically recyclable, LDPE, identified by the #4 resin code, is not commonly collected in recycling programs.

The New Jersey-based upcycling company will take the tortilla packaging and use it to make new tortilla holders and other consumer products. It will also collect packaging from the companies' dips and salsas.

TerraCycle already collects waste from various Kraft Foods products like Capri Sun and Lunchables, and will now take packaging from its Kraft Naturals, Velveeta, Philadelphia, Athenos and other cheese products.

TerraCycle gets packaging from consumer collection "brigades" and also from companies that provide extra or waste packaging from their operations. TerraCycle and the companies that sponsor collection programs for their wastes pay 2 cents per piece of packaging to the non-profit of each brigade's choice.

Founded in 2001 and originally focused on selling "worm poop" fertilizer in used soda bottles, TerraCycle's partnerships with major companies have steadily increased in recent years, striking deals with companies big and small to collect candy wrappers, plastic sandwich bags, corks, tape dispensers, chip bags, butter tubs, toothpaste tubes and more.

Through the collection programs, TerraCycle gets a stream of materials it turns into products like backpacks, totes, pencil boxes, clipboards, garden pavers and more while companies are able to do something with their packaging waste other than dump it in the trash, and in some cases they end up with their brand names all over the new products TerraCycle makes.

Cheese - CC license by Flickr user Brett L.