Hair recycling with TerraCycle
Most people would be predisposed to view hair as naturally biodegradable. Given such predisposition, my expectation is that the title of this blog post triggers questions like: isn’t hair naturally biodegradable? Why does hair need to be recycled? This blog post attempts to supply answers to such questions and generally supply useful additional solutions around disposal of human hair wigs. The solutions come by way of TerraCycle’s hair recycling program. I was able to interview Veronica Rajadnya, Content and Writing Manager at Terracycle, about Teracycle’s hair recycling program and its other recycling programs.
TerraCycle has become a global recycling innovator and leader. Please tell my readers a little bit more about how long TerraCycle has been in the recycling business?
Founded in 2001 by Tom Szaky, TerraCycle® has been Eliminating the Idea of Waste® for two decades. TerraCycle partners with leading consumer product companies, retailers and cities to recycle products and packages that would otherwise end up being landfilled or incinerated, in addition working with leading consumer product companies to integrate hard to recycle waste streams, such as ocean plastic, into their products and packaging. TerraCycle also sells Zero Waste Boxes that are purchased by end users to recycle items in offices, homes, factories and public facilities. TerraCycle has won over 200 awards for sustainability and has donated over $44 million to schools and charities since its founding and was named #10 in Fortune magazine’s list of 52 Companies Changing the World. To learn more about TerraCycle or get involved in its recycling programs, please visit www.TerraCycle.com.
TerraCycle is well known for recycling hard-to-recycle items? Can you give us a few examples of such items?
Beach plastic, cosmetics empties, flexible pouches and packets — even cigarette butts! TerraCycle has found that nearly everything we use in our everyday lives (including hair care!) can be scientifically, technically recycled – it’s just a matter of someone being willing to pay for it. This is why so many items are not accepted through traditional curbside programs, and fewer and fewer items collected are actually being recycled into something new; the cost of effective collection, transportation, and processing is usually higher than the materials are worth. TerraCycle is able to work around this by having brands, retailers, and companies pay for the recycling of products and packaging, also offering individual turnkey solutions through Zero Waste Box.
This blog post is about recycling hair, so some will ask: why hair? Isn’t it already biodegradable? What type of hair do you recycle (hair clippings, ponytails, human hair wigs)?
This is correct – hair is biodegradable. However, it will only break down naturally under the right conditions (microbes, temperature, etc.), and there is currently no nationwide solution to collect and recycle hair and make sure it is used to create new soil nutriment (i.e. fertilizer compost) rather than burned or landfilled. TerraCycle provides a nationwide solution to collect, therefore ensuring the effective composting of hair and reduction of waste. We recycle all types of human natural hair.
Do you recycle all textures of hair?
Yes, we do. We recycle all types of hair as long as it is natural human hair.
To what uses is the recycled hair put?
The hair is turned into compost. Compost is used to provide nutrients and improve soil fertility in gardens, landscaping, horticulture, urban agriculture and organic farming. An improved soil structure will increase the soil water retention ability and control soil erosion.
Do you recycle synthetic hair wigs and hair extensions? If not, do you have plans to do so or have any tips on how to properly dispose of them?
Yes! Our All-In-One Zero Waste Box collects and recycles synthetic hair wigs and extensions. However, these are not accepted in the Hair – Zero Waste Box, so we ask recyclers to please keep them separate to ensure proper recycling.
Can a regular consumer send hair to you or do you work mostly with salons which can provide higher volumes of hair?
Regular consumers can send hair to us via our Zero Waste Box system! This system is open to everyone.
Useful tip on recycling human hair wigs
Although human hair wigs are made from human hair, the hair is often attached to synthetic wig caps, so cut the hair off from the synthetic cap to ensure proper sorting for recycling.
Thank you TerraCycle for supporting Mspaulapresents.com by collaborating on this post.