Recently, I've been trying to step-up my game in regards to recycling. I'm definitely more conscientious about recycling than most people, but that doesn't mean I don't have room for improvement. The other month, thanks to some points made by Tanja Hester in her book Wallet Activism, I (re)discovered TerraCycle. I did a deep-dive through all of their programs and one that caught my attention was their oral care products recycling program.

As you may or may not know, toothpaste tubes and toothbrushes are not typically accepted by curbside plastic recycling programs. (They aren't by mine.) Having the option to do something less wasteful with them was appealing to me.

Program Options

For oral care products, TerraCycle offers two options, both of which feature free shipping. The easiest option is to enroll privately. But, TerraCycle limits the number of enrollees for that option and I was waitlisted, with no near-term end in sight. The other option is to enroll as a public drop-site.

I can't say I found the public option very appealing. I wasn't very jazzed to take on "people management". But, then I realized that I could simply make use of existing drop-sites. However, when I looked at the map provided by TerraCycle, drop-sites near me were sparse. So, I decided to suck it up and enroll myself as a drop-site. I was promptly accepted and TerraCycle put me on their drop-site map.

After the fact, I realized that this should be something that dentists do. I had an upcoming appointment with my dentist, so I printed out some of the TerraCycle material and took it along with me to my check-up. At the end of my appointment, I made the pitch and they seemed very receptive. But, it's now been several weeks since that discussion and I have yet to see them show up on the map as a drop-site.


I moved ahead today and set up a small station next to my house where people can make drop-offs.

Oral care products recycling drop site.
Oral care products recycling drop site.

Unfortunately, TerraCycle doesn't provide a facility for including instructions in the drop-site listing. As such, I want to make my drop-site visible for self-service use. I'm hoping that the TerraCycle crowd is conscientious enough to only drop-off completely-emptied tubes.