Upcycle It! FAQ

The most important things to know about Upcycle It!

Forget everything you know about recycling. To determine what is accepted, what was in the bag or wrapper is more important than the material it is made from. TerraCycle has corporate sponsors for each brigade. For example, Hain sponsors the Snack Bag (Chip) brigade. They are willing to pay for any product similar to their own. So if you can find it in the chip aisle of the grocery store, it is considered a snack bag. Same goes for other brigades.

Terracycle collects over 40 different items. Local groups, like Upcycle It!, choose which items they will collect. We can only accept the items we have signed up for. So even though TerraCycle has cigarette waste brigade, Upcycle It! cannot accept those items because we have chosen not to sign up for those brigades.

1) What is a Brigade?

A Brigade is a waste stream that Terracycle collects. Upcycle It! is signed up for certain brigades which means we can collect and get paid only for those brigades. We will be looking to expand to include more brigades. Take a look at Terracycle’s brigades and please let us know which ones you would like to see collected.

2) Do I need to separate my Upcycle It! items into the different brigades?

Toothbrushes, drink pouches, and baby food pouches should be placed in separate bags – separate from each other as well because of safety or leakage. All others can be placed into a bag, box, bread bag, whatever you have and bring it to a drop off location. You can leave your items in the bag. It actually makes pickup easier and we will recycle the bag!

3) Why did Upcycle It! stop accepting coffee bags, cookie wrappers, candy wrappers, corks, and glue?

We were informed by TerraCycle that the corporate sponsors for these brigades, decided not to continue the program. Without a sponsor, someone paying the 2 cents and the shipping, these items can no longer be collected.

4) Will Upcycle It! accept ANYTHING with a foil liner?

NO. It must fit into one of the brigade categories. So it must be some sort of energy or breakfast type bar, candy, chip bag, etc to be accepted. So, the wrapper to an ink cartridge or a Crystal Light package is not acceptable. When in doubt, contact Upcycle It with our contact form or stop by the market. We check everything and will update as necessary. Please check back so you know next time.

5) Which wrappers and packages are NOT accepted?

These are some common mistakes. The following are NOT accepted.

  • Coffee Bags
  • Energy bar wrappers
  • Cookie wrappers
  • Wine corks
  • Candy Wrappers
  • glue containers
  • Bread Bags
  • Frozen Food bags
  • Pet Food bags
  • Gum packaging
  • Peanut butter or cheese cracker sandwiches
  • Craisins – small foil ones
  • Entemen’s Little Bites
  • Ramen noodles
  • Ink cartridge wrapper
  • Bottle labels
  • Any unlabeled packaging
  • Cheese stick wrapper
  • Cheese singles wrappers
  • Shredded Cheese bag
  • Hershey’s Kiss wrapper
  • Paper-like Hershey’s miniature wrapper
  • Goldfish cracker bag w/ paper outer layer
  • Juice Boxes – cardboard type
  • Milk cartons – Silk or Horizon Organics type
  • Crystal Light
  • Pop Tart wrapper
  • Mylar balloons
  • Saran wrap
  • Ice cream novelty or popsicle wrappers
  • Pasta bags
  • Fruit by the foot or other fruit rollup type snack
  • Welch’s Fruit Snacks or any other brand of fruit snack
  • Nuts
  • Pringles can
  • Dried fruit bags
  • Foil yogurt tops
  • Plastic containers – can be curbside recycled
  • Flower pots
  • Crest White Strips
  • Crayons
  • Wooden pencils
  • Aluminum toothpaste tube (Tom’s of Maine)

6) Will you accept the foil Hershey’s kiss wrappers?


7) Will you accept the juice box type containers like Mott’s?

No. TerraCycle only accepts the foil type pouches like Capri Sun and Honest Kids.

8) Will you accept plastic zip top type bags like those for shredded cheese?

No. Even though TerraCycle has a cheese brigade, Upcycle IT! is not participating so we cannot accept this type of packaging.

9) Does Upcycle It! accept any type of crinkly plastic?

NO. The item must fit into one of the brigade types. So, the packaging of Ramen Noodles is NOT accepted. However, any sort of chip or salty snack,  anything you find in the “chip” aisle at the grocery store does fit with the Chip brigade. Again, when in doubt, contact us or stop by the market. Please check back so you know next time. See the list below for more information.

10) What condition do the items need to be in?

For the wrapper and bag items, they can be ripped. If they are ripped, please include all pieces. They should be relatively clean, but no need to scrub them. Just empty the crumbs. Please follow the cleaning instructions for the drink pouches.

11) What should I do if I’m not sure about an item?

Contact us or stop by the market and ask. We always go through each bag to sort it. If we are not sure either, we can ask Terracycle. Please check these FAQs every so often as they will be updated.

12) Is it true that we can now include the straws from the drink pouches?

YES. Terracycle now accepts the straw from your drink pouch. Only these straws. Please continue to get all the juice out of the pouch.