Zero Waste Box™ Frequently Asked Questions

You have questions? We have answers!

What is a Zero Waste Box™?

A Zero Waste Box is a complete and convenient solution which includes the storage, shipping and recycling of a particular type of waste that isn’t currently recycled through curbside pickup or traditional recycling facilities.

We can recycle almost anything, from coffee capsules, snack wrappers, VHS tapes to Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Zero Waste Box is an all-inclusive solution developed by award-winning waste experts at TerraCycle®.

You can purchase a Zero Waste Box™ online in either small, medium or large sizes. Once ordered online, the box is delivered by UPS or FedEx ground and arrives flat packed. Simply open the Zero Waste Box™ and stand it up-right; it’s then ready for you to start putting waste in!

The recycling boxes are easy to set up and use, making it the perfect option for households, schools, businesses, manufacturing and events facilities looking to increase their sustainable practices.

When your Zero Waste Box is full, simply tape the top opening shut. Your box has a prepaid return shipping label already attached! Check the label to see the shipping carrier, then drop off your sealed box at the carrier’s nearest location.

SEE HOW WE RECYCLE THE WASTE

How it works

Shop: Browse our selection of zero waste solutions and select the one that fits your needs. Browse solutions
Collect: Fill your zero waste solution with the trash you'd like to recycle.
Ship & Recycle: When filled, send your zero waste solution back to us using the attached prepaid shipping label and we'll #RecycleEverything - Yup, even the solution & liner!
Reorder: Continue to recycle everything and reorder a new Zero Waste Box.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Browse FAQ by section:
Orders |  Recycled Products  |  About TerraCycle®  |  Our Recycling Process


Zero Waste Box Orders

Which Zero Waste solution is right for me?

You can explore all of our Zero Waste solutions here. 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"

For select waste streams, we also offer Zero Waste Pallets for large-scale recycling and Zero Waste Pouches for small-scale recycling.

How does subscription ordering work?

When you order a box/pouch on a subscription, you will be charged and sent a replacement box/pouch every time you return it.

Subscription boxes/pouches are replaced 1-to-1, so we recommend ordering two boxes/pouches when you start a subscription to avoid downtime between fulfillments.

Only the first order placed with a subscription will trigger auto-replenishment (old boxes/pouches previously ordered before subscribing will not be auto-replenished).

To see, edit, or pause your subscription, visit your profile (top right corner of the website) and click 'Subscriptions'. For more information on how to manage your subscription, please click here.

You can mix your cart with one-time purchases and subscription items.

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

Watch our assembly video on the How to Set Up Your Zero Waste Box page.

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

When your Zero Waste Box or Pouch is full, tape the opening shut. Your box or pouch will arrive with an attached prepaid return shipping label. Simply drop off your sealed solution at your local UPS location. 

When your Zero Waste Pallet is full, please contact customercare@terracycle.com for shipping instructions. 

What happens to my trash when I send back my Zero Waste solution?

All compliant materials collected through TerraCycle Zero Waste solutions are sorted and then processed into raw materials used to make new products.

Learn what happens to your trash when you return your Zero Waste solution.

How much does shipping cost?

Shipping to you is always free for Zero Waste Boxes, Pallets, or Pouches.

The cost of shipping your trash back to TerraCycle is included in your purchase of a Zero Waste Box or Pouch. Each solution comes with a prepaid shipping label for return delivery.

Shipping back to TerraCycle is not included for Zero Waste Pallets and must be arranged and paid for by the customer. 

What forms of payment do you accept?​

We accept Apple Pay, American Express, Visa, Mastercard, and Discover.

When will my order arrive?

Orders are typically shipped out 1 to 3 business days after the order is placed. All orders ship via UPS or FedEx ground and can take one to six business days to arrive. Please note, during a sale period, these times may vary; expect possible delays with your order being fulfilled. 

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?

If you ordered an incorrect item or need to change your payment method, please contact customercare@terracycle.com.

To remove or update a saved payment method, visit your profile (top right corner of the website). On the far left, select “Account Information” to expand the menu. Click on “Payment Methods” to add, edit or remove a payment method. Please note: payment methods for pending orders cannot be edited or removed until after the order has been shipped. If for any reason, you need to change the payment method for a pending order, you will need to cancel the order and place a new order with the correct/desired payment method. 

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

Delivery addresses can only be edited before your order has shipped by contacting customercare@terracycle.com. Once an order has shipped, the delivery address cannot be updated.

Do the shipping labels expire for Zero Waste solutions?

No, they do not expire; whenever your box is full, you can send it back to us for recycling. 

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

No, the cost of scheduling a pick-up is not included. Please be aware that if you schedule a pick-up with UPS, you will be charged by UPS, and TerraCycle is unable to reimburse you for this service. 

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

The reusable bag can be kept and does not have to be returned to TerraCycle. Each reusable bag includes ideas on how you can give your bag a new life.

If you’d like to send the reusable bag back to TerraCycle, please reach out to customercare@terracycle.com to obtain a label. 

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

Yes!


Recycled Products

What are TerraCycle Made and PRE-Made?

TerraCycle Made products are crafted from the recycled materials we collected together. Our community of collectors often asks if they can purchase products made from the waste TerraCycle recycles. The answer is YES!

PRE-Made is a collection of products made from 100% recycled plastic, but not TerraCycle’s recycled materials . . . just yet. We’ve partnered with other companies to create a collection of limited edition pilot products, and if our customers like them, they’ll be added to the TerraCycle Made collection later—they’re PRE-Made.

How much does shipping cost?

Orders of recycled products under $50 are charged a flat shipping fee of $6.99. For orders over $50, shipping is free.

Please note that sales tax also applies for orders shipped to Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Seattle, Washington.

How do I return a damaged or defective product?

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


About TerraCycle®

How do the free recycling programs work, and how do they differ from Zero Waste solutions?

Our free recycling programs are funded by brands and retailers, so you pay nothing to participate. To start, simply sign up for a TerraCycle account, join free recycling programs, and start sending in recycling using free shipping labels downloaded through your TerraCycle account. 

Because brands sponsor our free recycling programs, the brands specify which type of waste is accepted in their programs. This means our free national recycling programs may not offer you a solution for all of your trash. Paid Zero Waste solutions allow you to #RecycleEverything. The shipping 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, who cover the cost of shipping and recycling. While you can recycle for free, you can only recycle accepted program waste through these programs.

When you purchase a Zero Waste solution, the price covers the cost of shipping, sorting and recycling the materials that you send to us. You can recycle almost anything (depending on the type of Zero Waste solution 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, and we do offer our Zero Waste Pouches, which are a budget-friendly alternative for select waste streams. We also recommend signing up for our newsletter so that you’re notified of sales and promotions. 

For additional recycling options, we also 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 and keep an eye on our blog for tips and tricks. Refer to the links below for more ways you can join us in Eliminating the Idea of Waste®.

Free recycling programs: Sponsored by your favorite brands, so you can recycle accepted waste for free. 

Zero Waste Bag: Curbside recycling pickup for hard-to-recycle items; available in select communities.

Loop: A new way to shop, without the waste.

 

Our 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.

For a deep dive into our recycling process, click here.

For more questions and answers relating to Zero Waste Boxes or Recycled Products, please visit our Help Center.