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Next Wave of TerraCycle Products to Come From Huggies, Kleenex Packaging

The company that built an empire by turning worm poop into fertilizer and cookie wrappers into backpacks has set its sights on the used plastic packaging from Huggies diapers, Scott toilet paper and Kleenex tissue.

TerraCycle wants to turn this packaging waste into diaper bags, tote bags and other goods through a new partnership with Kimberly-Clark. And in addition to taking on a second life, that packaging waste will also serve another purpose: generating hundreds of dollars every year for schools, nonprofits or houses of worship via special collection points called Brigades.

"No longer will all the plastic packaging from both our Scott brand bath tissue, towels, napkins and moist wipes, and Huggies brand diapers be considered waste," Matt Kolton, Scott Naturals' brand manager, said in a statement Monday. "Rather, it can be used as a resource in a new generation of products."

TerraCycle tries to make its upcyled products appeal to the target audience of the original product. For example, Capri Sun drink pouches become pencil cases and lunch boxes, while Frito-Lay products are made into binders and portable speakers.

The company recently expanded to the U.K., where a partnership with Kraft Foods UK will turn Kenco branded product packaging into frames, book covers and satchels.

For the Kimberly-Clark partnership, the company believes turning Huggies diaper plastic packaging waste into diaper bags will be a big hit, according to a company spokesman. The plastic wrap from Scott toilet paper will become super-sized tote bags big enough to hold a large package of toilet paper, similar to the large blue bags sold at Ikea.

"The thought was when families are buying toilet paper, they're buying 48 rolls at a time," TerraCycle's Albe Zakes told Monday.

Early ideas for the type of product to be made from Kleenex packaging waste included a desktop organizer, Zakes said, but a final decision has yet to be made.

The upcycled products will be co-branded with the original products and sold next year at major retailers such as Walmart and Target.

In order to boost collection of the waste, TerraCycle offers consumers or businesses the chance to serve as collection points, paying each Brigade two cents per piece of packaging toward their choice of school or nonprofit.

The collection programs are just two years old, but the more mature, top-collecting schools receive between a few hundred dollars to roughly $1,000 a year. The company collects nearly one million pieces of post-consumer packaging a week, 95 percent of which is collected in the U.S., Zakes said. TerraCycle also works with major manufacturers to collect between 500 and 3,000 tons of pre-consumer factory waste each year.

Image CC licensed by Flickr user miguelb.

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