TerraCycle has grown significantly since its inception in 2001. The upcycling company went from selling plant food made from worm waste products to repurposing packaging from brands like Frito-Lay and Wrigley's into everything from cell phone holders to messenger bags. Now the company is getting into more utilitarian products—starting with trash cans made from trash.
As part of a partnership between TerraCycle, Sharpie, Paper Mate, and EXPO, the newly-formed Writing Instruments Brigade will upcycle used markers and pens and turn them into a number of different products. "With the writing instruments, we'll be breaking them down into felts, ballpoint, and plastic. They'll be shredded and cleaned," explained TerraCycle's George Chevalier. Then the pens (and other items collected by TerraCycle brigades) will be upcycled into trash cans, clipboards, plastic pavers, and even fences.
First up: 35 gallon trash cans. TerraCycle has almost sold the product to a national chain, and expects it to be on store shelves by the summer. "In the past, we've been selling branded merchandise. Now we're going to be making stuff that blends into your life—stuff for the office, stuff for the home," Chevalier said. In other words, we may all soon be using TerraCycle products without even knowing it.