Zero Waste Box™ Frequently Asked Questions

Zero Waste Box Recycling Process

Everything collected through the Zero Waste Box solution is sorted and processed into raw materials that can be reused instead of sent to landfills. We’ve developed recycling solutions for even the most complex waste. Read below to learn how different types of material are recycled.

  • PLASTICS: Plastics are separated by number, melted down, and turned into pellets that can be molded and extruded to produce new products.
  • METALS: Metals are separated by type and smelted into metal sheeting, ingots, or bar stock.
  • GLASS: Glass is cleaned and sorted by color for processing. It is then crushed and melted to be used in new glass products or cement and concrete applications.
  • ORGANICS: Organics are composted or used in industrial and commercial fertilizers.
  • FIBERS: Fibers are hydropulped to separate wax or plastic coatings. The separated fiber is recycled into new paper products or composted if recycling is not possible. Any resulting plastics are recycled into plastic polymers.
  • FABRICS: Textiles are sorted by type and are recycled, upcycled, or reused as appropriate. Textiles of mixed fibers are converted to energy. Natural fiber textiles (cotton) are turned into a "shoddy" or insulation. Synthetic fiber textiles (polyester) are pelletized and made into new plastic products.
  • ELECTRONICS: Electronics collected for recycling, also known as e-waste, are mechanically and manually separated into metals and plastics. Salvageable materials are refurbished and reused. All data is wiped, but we advise restoring your device to factory settings before sending it in.
  • COOKING OIL: Cooking oil will be consolidated by our brand partner American By-Products Recyclers and turned into biodiesel or mechanical lubricants.
  • CIGARETTES: Cigarettes are shredded and separated into plastics, papers, and organics.
  • LATEX PAINTS: Latex paint is separated into water and solids, which are then run through an extruder. The water is stripped from the materials as water vapor and the solids are melted and formed into pellets. The pellets can be used as a base for colorants or as additives to other recycled polymers.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which Zero Waste Box is right for me?

  • You can explore all of our Zero Waste Box solutions here. [link to shop] If you’re not sure which one is right for you, feel free to reach out to our Customer Care team through our Help Center

What sizes of Zero Waste Boxes are available?

  • There are three (3) sizes of Zero Waste Boxes to choose from:
    • Small 11" x 11" x 20"
    • Medium 11" x 11" x 40"
    • Large 15" x 15" x 37"
  • We also offer Zero Waste Pallets and Zero Waste Pouches solutions for select waste streams.

How do I assemble and set up my Zero Waste Box?

How do I return my Zero Waste Box when it’s full?

  • When your Zero Waste Box is full, simply tape the top opening shut. Your box will arrive with a prepaid return shipping label already attached. Drop off your sealed box at your local UPS location. 

What happens to my recycling?

How much does shipping cost?

  • Shipping is always free, and there is no sales tax for Zero Waste Boxes, Pallets, or Pouches.
  • Zero Waste Boxes and Pouches will also come with a prepaid shipping label for return delivery.

When will my order arrive?

  • Orders are typically shipped out 2-3 business days after the order is placed. All orders ship via UPS and can take 1-6 business days to arrive. Please note, during a sale period, these times may vary; expect possible delays with your order being fulfilled. 
  • After your order leaves our facility, you can sign up for UPS My Choice to schedule your delivery or update your delivery instructions.

I need to cancel or return my order. How can I do this?

  • You can view our cancellation, return, and refund policies here.

I need to edit my order. How can I do this?

  • Unfortunately, we are unable to make edits to the contents of an order, including changing the payment method used. If you ordered an incorrect item or need to change your payment method, please reach out to customersupport@terracycle.com to have your order canceled.

How do I correct a delivery address after I have placed an order?

  • Delivery addresses may be edited before your order has shipped by reaching out to our Customer Care team. However, once an order has shipped, the delivery address can only be updated using UPS My Choice.

Do the shipping labels expire for Zero Waste Boxes?

  • No, they do not expire; whenever your box is full, you are able to send it back to us for processing. 

Does the shipping label cover the cost of scheduling a pickup? 

  • No, that is considered an additional service that the shipping labels do not cover. We are not able to reimburse you for this service either. 

The reusable bag in which my Zero Waste Box shipped did not come with a return label. What do I do?

  • Please reach out to customer care to obtain a replacement label. 

Am I able to place multiple Zero Waste Box reusable shipping bags within one reusable bag and send them all back combined? 

  • No, the reusable shipping bags in which you receive your Zero Waste Boxes must be sent back individually, for inventory purposes. 

How do the free brand-sponsored national recycling programs work, and how do they differ from the Zero Waste Box solution?

  • Our free recycling programs are funded by brands and retailers, so you pay nothing to participate. To start recycling for free, simply sign up for a TerraCycle account, join programs, and start collecting.
  • Because our free recycling programs are sponsored by brands, the brands specify which type of waste is included in their programs.The specific waste stream accepted in our free national recycling programs may not offer you a solution for all of your trash. The paid Zero Waste Box recycling solution allows you to recycle almost anything. The transportation and recycling costs are built into the price.

Why does a Zero Waste Box cost money when the free recycling programs do not?

  • Our free recycling programs are sponsored by brands, so they cover the cost of shipping and recycling. You can only recycle accepted program waste through these programs.
  • When you purchase a Zero Waste Box, you cover the cost of shipping and recycling the materials you would like to recycle. You can recycle almost anything (depending on the type of Zero Waste Box you buy).

Zero Waste Boxes are not in our budget. Is there something we can do?

  • The price of a Zero Waste Box is based on the current shipping and recycling costs for each material type. We understand this service may not be a fit for all customers at this time. We recommend checking out TerraCycle’s free recycling programs, which you can participate in for free.

I want to recycle everything and do more to reduce my impact. What else can I do?

  • That’s the spirit! Follow us on social media for daily tips and tricks, and refer to the links below for more information on ways you can eliminate the idea of waste.