A warm welcome to you all! This is the 8th Treehouse newsletter. We very much hope that you are enjoying our articles, please do feed back to us or let us know any topics you would like to see covered. If you are new to us – thanks for joining. If you like what you read please see the link at the bottom of the page to look at our previous publications.  

This week we’re talking rubbish and interviewing ‘Terracycle Kate’ about the recycling scheme that she volunteers for, saving enormous volumes of waste from landfill each year.  

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The Treehouse Gang

#008 - Terracycle Kate


Councils across the UK accept simple waste streams but do not want any materials that are costly to recycle; this includes things such as flexible packaging (crisps and biscuit wrappers), waste that is made up of multiple materials (eg. pens and toothbrush tubes), and anything else where the cost of recycling the waste outweighs the value of the end product.

This disposable packaging is a major contributor to the world-wide waste crisis. But – an expanding social enterprise with an ambitious mission to eliminate the idea of waste has stepped into the arena.

Terracycle offers a non-landfill solution for this waste. The scheme has only been running for a couple of years and already claims to have diverted millions of pounds of valuable resources from landfills all over the world. 

Sounds pretty good doesn’t it?  

Terracycle Kate smiling and showing us her recycling efforts.

Locally we have ‘Terracycle Kate’ in our midst.  Kate is Macclesfield and Bollington’s Terracycle collector/sorter/guru/champion. She works tirelessly and endlessly to make it easier for the rest of us to recycle our Terracycle waste… real heroes don’t wear capes you know (not even ones made from an endless tapestry of Walkers Crisp packets…although there’s an idea…)  

Here Kate talks to The Treehouse about the Terracycle scheme and how we can all get involved.

How did you end up involved in the Terracycle scheme? 

I had my two little boys close together and I taught my eldest, Quinn, to feed himself a pouch yogurt as when Lotan was born he was poorly and I could hardly put him down. I saw all these pouches going to waste and wondered what I could do with them instead. One of the members of a team who helped me monitor my baby’s movements through my 2nd pregnancy told me about ‘Kicks Count’ the charity she worked for and that they recycled them through Terracycle. So that's where it began…. Baby pouches, baby snack packets and crisps.  

So what exactly is Terracycle and what does it do?  

Terracycle is a non-profit organisation who charge the big companies like Walkers, KP, Carex, Ella's Kicthen, etc. a huge amount of money to recycle their products packaging. Then once those costs are covered the rest of the money goes to each volunteer's chosen charity/charities.  To give a few examples, the recycled materials go into making garden furniture, park furniture, play items and pellets that go into road repairs to help them be more durable. 
So this sort of recycling can also raise money for charity, how does this work? 

Yes it does, so you have a minimum weight limit to meet before you can send off and after that weight limit is reached you are awarded points for the weight you reach over that. Twice a year you claim your points for your chosen charity (mine is Kicks Count) and these then turn into a cash value and are paid directly to the charity.  
The Terracycle team looking at recycled parcels and boxes
Wow, it sounds like a win-win scheme, although clearly a lot of work for you. How can we help to make your job easier?   

The most helpful thing is to sort your recycling before you drop it off. A lot of people use bread bags, cereal bags, boxes, postal bags to sort into each relevant stream which saves me a huge amount of work.  When the recycling arrives all mixed up it can take an hour just to sort one bag. I have over 70 bags/boxes a week being dropped off so that is a lot sorting time for me if it hasn’t already been organised. I do sometimes put a shout out for volunteers on my Facebook page to come over and help me do a big sort out, so if you’d be keen to help please do look out for this and come along!
What sort of things can I recycle in Terracycle and where can I do this? 

There is a list of everything that you can recycle. Terracycle waste can be dropped at: 
  1. My house - 41 Ivy Lane, Macclesfield, SK11 8NU 
  2. Scoop & Scales 
  3. Macc Plant Swap stall 
A number of schools and vets around Bollington are now also Terracycle collection points (thanks to the hard work of Fabienne Donbavand and Transition Bollington).  

I’m always on the look out for new hubs, so if anyone has or knows a business that would have a Terracycle collection bin located there, give me a shout and I can source a collection bin for you.
Lots of boxes filled with recycling outside, ready for collection.
We’ve heard a rumour that you are breaking records for the amount of waste terracycled in Cheshire East, is this true?! 

Well I got an email from Terracycle to say I was in the top 20 national recyclers at the start of the year and more recently that I’m in the top 10. It is all down to the community who have got on board and have help saved all these items from landfill.  

Incredible. I’d like to add that it is also quite a lot down to your sheer dedication and hard work. What do you like to do when you are not helping save tonnes of waste from landfill for all our future benefits? 

I love to swim and am hoping to get back into outdoor swimming again alongside learning to free-dive. I also love to travel but think it will be seeing more of our lovely country before I go further afield once things have calmed down. 

If you are inspired by what you have heard, then please consider making Terracycling part of your waste separating routine… and spread the word! Every bit of waste saved from landfill has to be a little victory.  As Annie Leonard thought-provokingly said; “There is no such thing as ‘Away’. When we throw anything away it must go somewhere”  

Further Links:

Terracycle offers a range of free recycling programmes, typically for hard-to-recycle waste. Find out more about Terracycle, and take a look at everything you can recycle

See what's Kate's getting up to and follow Terracycle Kate's Facebook page

Take your recycling to Scoop & Scales or the Macc Plant Swap stall.

Scoop & Scales also have litter pickers you can borrow. Get in touch. Join to add new routes to the litter map.  


Check out the results of the Beautiful Bollington Gardens Competition. Well done to everyone who took part. You can also see the gardens on an interactive Google map

T-shirts made from seaweed? Bollington-based founder at Inland Sea is raising funds and doing it. Find out more about this news article, or browse their website and read tips on going plastic free. 

Bollington St Johns CE Primary wins climate change competition

This month sees the return of the annual global movement Plastic Free July.

Please share this newsletter with family and friends. If you not already subscribed, click here and you can also view past issues of the newsletter here. If you'd like to help bring The Treehouse to life please get in touch. We are looking for people who'd either like to pitch in with the development of our plan and strategy, or to help organise actions and events to build momentum in the area.
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Treehouse Ecohub · 20 Hurst Lane · Bollington · Macclesfield, Cheshire SK10 5LP · United Kingdom

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