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TerraCycle: Get Paid For Trash

TerraCycle: Get Paid For Trash

TerraCycle turns waste into profitable products.

It’s an awesome business that embodies the idea of a sustainable economy, as it creates a market for products made from trash.

TerraCycle began with two freshmen at Princeton University, Tom Szaky and Jon Beyer. Basically, they sold worm castings (fertilizer) in a wasted soda bottle. They took food waste from their school dining hall, fed it to their friendly worms, and voila, a commodity to be sold. This packaging of dining hall-sourced fertilizer in junk plastic bottles continued to sell, and eventually TerraCycle fertilizer was being sold at Home Depot and Whole Foods. Now, TerraCycle has expanded to include purses, bags, fences, and boxes–all made from trash.

Watch this video, you’ll love it (for more video education, visit

And the fun part? Get paid for your trash! TerraCycle has set up neighborhood brigades, collecting certain pieces of trash such as Capri Sun pouches, candy wrappers, yogurt cups, and lotion bottles. See these trash heaps get transformed (by magic, of course) into lawn fences, recycling bins, clipboards, or bags.

Sign up to start your own brigade, or join an existing one!


  • Too cool. I should really do this… have to see what kind of stuff they’re looking for, and whether I actually produce that type of trash. Thanks for posting this!

    • Yea, it is super cool. I wish the site would provide a list of existing brigades though, that would help. Also, the stuff they look for is often supermarket brands, stuff from Target or Walmart. Like M&Ms wrappers, not really the chocolate I touch. But it’s still collectable from other people, or schools. Actually, getting schools to ship their trash over would be great.

  • I LOVE Terra Cycle. I recall when they started with the plant food. Last time I checked, which was over a year ago, they had plenty materials coming in and a waiting list to become a contributor. There also was the issue, as Lynn mentions, that I did not wan to consume the products in the containers they were looking for. However, it is definitely time to check back in!

    Thanks for posting!

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