A partnership between global customs and logistics company UPS and TerraCycle has reached a major milestone — by transforming hard-to-recycle items such as toothpaste tubes and snack bags into new products, the two organizations have diverted 40 million pounds of waste from landfills since 2012.
TerraCycle has been utilizing UPS’s expertise and technology solutions for the last five years to scale its global recycling programs and customer base, which has allowed the company to turn 3.5 billion pieces of waste into useful products such as trash cans and park benches.
“TerraCycle has transformed recycling, just as UPS has transformed logistics,” said Patrick Browne, Director of Global Sustainability at UPS. “UPS is helping TerraCycle transport what was once considered trash or unrecyclable materials. As a result, businesses, communities and consumers can recycle more items and less waste is being thrown into landfills.”
UPS’s collaboration with TerraCycle reflects its commitment to solving environmental challenges and helping customers achieve a more sustainable global supply chain focused on waste reduction, reuse and recycling. Earlier this year, UPS announced plans to open a Packaging Innovation Center in partnership with Sealed Air, where the two companies will work towards creating solutions for packaging and shipping challenges by maximizing efficiency, minimizing waste and reducing shipping costs.
Customs support and small package technology solutions have played a critical role in helping TerraCycle drive forward the circular agenda. As the largest customs broker in the world, UPS helps TerraCycle navigate the complexities of shipping regulated and unregulated goods across borders. Deploying UPS technology has also made it faster and simpler for TerraCycle to transport its 400 to 500 daily shipments from cities, offices, schools and homes around the world.
The mere scale of the UPS global logistics network has also allowed TerraCycle to expand its reach of influence and ultimately increasing the amount of waste being recycled.
In addition to transforming waste into valuable products, TerraCycle works with businesses and municipalities to solve recycling challenges, creating efficient solutions to collect and deconstruct large and small items that have typically been considered non-recyclable, such as juice pouches and dental floss containers.
“To meet our goal to reuse, upcycle and recycle waste, we knew we had to make the process convenient and efficient for our customers,” said Tom Szaky, Founder and CEO of TerraCycle. “UPS helps us solve a variety of logistics challenges including navigating complex global shipping and customs regulations, which has allowed us to grow more quickly and ultimately move to a circular economy that benefits us all.”
Complementing its work helping businesses achieve their environmental impact goals, UPS has invested millions of dollars in alternative fuel research and other sustainability measures, including network and route organization, efficient building design and innovative vehicle technologies that enhance UPS’s ability to operate sustainably.
Since 2009, UPS has invested more than $750 million in alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles and fueling stations globally. The company used more than 97 million gallons of alternative and lower-carbon fuels in its ground fleet in 2016 and recently announced an $18 million investment in on-site solar energy systems across eight facilities. Last month UPS announced new sustainability goals aimed to increase its fleet of 8,300 alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles and reliance on renewable energy sources.