Food manufacturers can recycle equipment destined for landfill or incineration

By Michelle Perrett

- Last updated on GMT

Quorn has been recycling in a trial with TerraCycle
Quorn has been recycling in a trial with TerraCycle

Related tags Environment Supply chain

A new range of Zero Waste Boxes has been launched allowing food manufacturers to recycle equipment such as hair nets and gloves that would be destined for landfill or incineration.

TerraCycle, which is known for tackling 'hard-to-recycle' waste, has created a range of Zero Waste Boxes designed to allow food manufacturers to recycle items such as hair nets, earplugs, disposable gloves and safety equipment. These are items that are not collected by councils and waste management companies for recycling so are traditionally destined for landfills or incineration. 

TerraCycle said its Zero Waste Boxes offer a comprehensive solution for equipment used in food-contact environments. These items are not recycled by councils or waste management companies as they are considered 'hard-to-recycle' due to the mix of materials they contain which makes separating and processing them too complex and expensive.   

Collected waste

The boxes are delivered to the sites where staff can fill them with the accepted waste. Once full, the prepaid and pre-attached shipping labels are used to send the box back to TerraCycle where it will be sorted and the items sent for processing. The price of each Zero Waste Box covers the box, shipping, storage at the Materials Recovery Facility and processing costs, as well as the costs of transporting and sorting the waste. 

TerraCycle stores and aggregates the collected waste until the necessary volumes for processing have been achieved. This is then sorted into categories based on material composition and then sent to third-party processing partners that recycle the materials into usable forms.  

TerraCycle has been running a pilot with Quorn Foods, the plant-based food manufacturer, which uses the Disposable Gloves Zero Waste Box and the Centrifuge Tubes and Rigid Lab Plastics Zero Waste Box in its laboratories.

Saved from incineration

By using the Zero Waste Boxes the company has saved an estimated 1500 pairs of plastic gloves from going to landfill or incineration. Through the Centrifuge Tubes and Rigid Lab Plastics Zero Waste Box they have ensured more than 500 pieces of single use rigid plastic have been recycled too. 

Mark Taylor, lead fermentation Ssientist at Quorn Foods said: “Labs, by nature of their work, have a tendency to use a lot of single-use plastic. 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. The trial with TerraCycle’s Zero Waste Boxes has so far been a great success.” 

TerraCycle offers a range of Zero Waste Boxes that can be used in food manufacturing sites. These include the Safety Equipment and Protective Gear Zero Waste Box, the Disposable Gloves Zero Waste Box, the Disposable Gloves and Face Masks Zero Waste Box, and the Beard Nets and Hair Nets Zero Waste Box. 


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