Source: TerraCycle

Once full, the boxes are sent back to TerraCycle, where items are sorted and sent for processing

TerraCycle has launched a recycling scheme for used food manufacturing equipment.

Its Zero Waste Boxes are intended to be used as disposal points for “hard to recycle” waste items like hair nets, earplugs, disposable gloves and safety equipment.

The boxes can be purchased online and are delivered to sites by TerraCycle, where employees can fill them with the accepted waste.

Once full, prepaid and preattached shipping labels are used to send the boxes back to TerraCycle, where items are sorted and sent for processing.

TerraCycle stores and aggregates the collected waste until the necessary volumes for processing are reached. The waste is then sorted into categories based on material composition; these are sent to third-party processing partners that recycle the materials into usable forms.

The price of each box covers shipping, storage at the materials recovery facility and processing costs, as well as the costs of transporting and sorting the waste.

The boxes provided “a new solution that allows food manufacturers to continue using the equipment they need, whilst ensuring it has a second life once used”, said TerraCycle.

Quorn Foods has already saved an estimated 1,500 pairs of disposable gloves and 500 pieces of single-use plastic from landfill by participating in a trial scheme at its laboratories.

“Labs, by nature of their work” had “a tendency to use a lot of single-use plastic”, said Quorn Foods lead fermentation scientist Mark Taylor.

“Whether it’s lab equipment itself or the gloves we use to protect ourselves, it’s part and parcel of lab work that plastic can be a necessity.”

Quorn’s trial using TerraCycle’s Zero Waste Boxes had “so far been a great success”, Taylor added.

Simon Martin Farms owner Sam Martin said TerraCycle had “made it very easy to recycle” nitrile gloves, which were “an absolute necessity for our work”.