The state of Yucatan needs to promote a growing movement towards environmental responsibility.
There’s plenty of facts out there on why recycling is important. The world population is growing, not shrinking, and currently each human being adds significant waste to the planet over his or her lifetime.
The most frustrating thing is that in our beautiful state of Yucatan, neither society nor government seems to be concerned about the importance of recycling. It is vital that we create awareness among the local population, and let everybody know that the natural resources on our planet earth are limited and we must make the most to conserve, recycle and reuse whenever possible. It’s not all too difficult to make a difference.
Michael Waas is TerraCycle’s Global Vice President, in charge of Business Development and Client Services, he is responsible for managing and expanding TerraCycle’s 100+ national recycling programs. The programs recycle traditionally non-recyclable waste streams and are run in conjunction with major brands partners (including L’Oreal, Bimbo, Kraft Foods, PepsiCo, Mondelez, P&G, and many more).
TerraCycle operates in 20 countries and has pioneered solutions for recycling some of the most challenging waste streams in the world, including chip bags, water filters, cigarette butts, cosmetic packaging and more.
TerraCycle’s award-winning programs engage tens of millions of consumers and have diverted billions of pieces of waste; since 2007 the company has paid more than $10 million to schools and non profits in return for waste collected through the programs.
Michael joined TerraCycle in 2008 after a chance meeting with founder Tom Szaky through the StartingBloc fellowship. He holds a bachelors in Music and Political Science and an M.A. in Political Science from Central Michigan University.
Here is the full interview:
Hi Michael, thank you so much for agreeing to have this interview, it is a pleasure to have you here in Mexico and we hope you have a great stay!
- TerraCycle is known all over the world. Nevertheless, there are some people in Mexico who still don’t know about it. What is Terracycle?
What is its purpose and how does The company work?
TerraCycle is a global company known for recycling typically non-recyclable materials. Its purpose is to eliminate the idea of waste, meaning we don’t want there to be the concept of waste but rather to have people think about things being repurposed, reused or recycled.
The company has several ways it gets the materials we recycle. In Mexico, we have free collection programs that are sponsored by companies that want to take responsibility for their products or packaging. Anyone can sign up for these on our website.
- What kind of waste is the most interesting to collect for Terracycle and why?
We think every kind of waste is interesting to collect, but we really like to collect the most difficult to recycle items that take up a lot of space in landfills.
- What products can be created with the recycled waste?
We recycle the materials into a plastic that can be used in any product that manufacturers want to use recycled plastic. That means the plastic can be used for park benches, garbage bins, bike racks, picnic tables, and much, much more.
- TerraCycle currently runs over 100 waste collection programs. What is it like having to work with these programs together with the different cultures and traditions around the world?
It can be challenging, but it’s great. We make sure we have a good understanding of the cultures and traditions before we launch in a country. Our employees are often native to that country so that also helps.
- To date, what recycling program has been the most challenging to create and why?
Each of the packaging or products have their own challenges, but those made of multiple materials or layers have the potential to be more difficult and costly because ideally, you want to separate the materials and recycle them individually.
- Each recycling program is possible thanks to the partners that work alongside TerraCycle. What is the main ingredient when looking for partnerships with different brands?
We love working with companies who recognize the importance of taking responsibility for their packaging and who want to make an impact environmentally. We also look for companies that want to embrace their partnership with us.
- We are well aware of the success of the programs involving cosmetic packaging and cigarette butts. What other programs would you like to develop in the future?
Everything! We want to tackle waste that takes up space in landfills, but shouldn’t have to if there was a way to recycle it.
- What opportunities do you see in Mexico that you haven’t seen anywhere else?
In Mexico, we see a growing movement toward environmental responsibility and an increasing number of companies and individuals who want to take action to reduce landfill waste. Not that we don’t see that elsewhere, but it’s exciting to see it happening in Mexico.
- Can you tell us anything about the future programs in Mexico?
We have a lot of exciting things in the works for Mexico and when we are able to launch them, they will be the first of their kind in the world.
Thank you so much for your time, Michael, We hope you have a great time in Mexico City.
About TerraCycle Mexico:
In the month of September TerraCycle Mexico celebrated its 7th anniversary by collecting and recycling waste around the Mexican Republic; said this left a reminder of how we can become collectors within the country and not only contribute to the best of our environment also remunerate other non-profit associations. The most recent number that has been donatied is $ 409,936.74 pesos.
Some of the associations that have benefited are:
- APANICAL (Association of Parents of Children with Cancer and Leukemia) – Located in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, has received $ 135.360 pesos.
- High School 20 Juan F. Escamilla -received $ 22.999 pesos, this school is located in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon.
- Francisco I. Madero School In Mezquitic, Jalisco received $ 20.029 pesos.
- Operation Smile-In Zapopan, Jalisco received $ 16.185 pesos.
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