TerraCycle is a leader in waste collection, repurposing it into innovative materials and products. The company works with over 110 brands worldwide and 60 million people in 21 countries to collect non-recyclable, post-consumer waste for upcycling and recycling.

  • icon-globe

    Spread awareness and promote action worldwide

  • icon-fbTwitter

    Over 113,000 Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram fans and followers

  • icon-star

    One person successfully manages all social

  • icon-convo

    Reach like-minded people to build supportive communities

Going beyond just a global recycling company, TerraCycle strives to increase environmental awareness and inspire green action. Over 3.4 billion units of waste has been diverted from landfills around the globe thanks to them. Social media allows the team behind TerraCycle to boost brand awareness and present the brand more consistently to their audience.

What they did

How to show an idea and build trust

We connected with David Simons, TerraCycle’s Global Digital Media Manager to learn more about their business and the role social media plays. TerraCycle’s business strategy relies heavily on PR and social media to reach new audiences worldwide. Simons is in charge of increasing brand and environmental awareness, as well as building their online community.

“Our social media strategy entails showing our audience that ‘waste’ should not be viewed as waste, but rather as items that can be repurposed or recycled,” he says. Meeting this objective is twofold. Simons has to show people, using visual social content, how items can be repurposed. He also has to build up the trust of his communities, so that families, schools, and corporations, for example, turn to them when looking for information on how to live a more sustainable and environmentally-conscious lifestyle.

How they did it

How to use Instagram and visual content to share an idea

“Everyone expects businesses in the green space to share environmental facts, tips, and figures, but we engage with our growing following creatively with giveaways, contests, upcycled art, and DIY projects to make sure that fans not only hear our message about being more conscious of the environment, but also get involved,” Simons explains.

As one of the most visually driven social networks, Instagram is imperative to their social media strategy. With many regional Instagram accounts, the goal for each is the same. They want to educate viewers that garbage is just a human-made idea and that if you think about it differently, you can come up with innovative solutions to a real problem.

Instagram allows TerraCycle to show any of their upcycled creations, projects, and promote recycling programs through visuals. “Being on Instagram benefits our business because it gives us a platform to share the many recycling programs we have with brand partners such as PepsiCo and Colgate,” he says. “It also gives a great opportunity to promote contests and give back.”

Simons uses the Hootsuite and Instagram integration to be more efficient and save time in engaging fans. With the integration, he plans out his content calendar for Instagram, schedules it in advance, and then posts it directly once he receives the notification. He also uses it to search through hashtags and find other relevant content to like, supporting others in their quest to be more environmentally-friendly.

“Although Instagram wasn’t intended to be a network for having conversations, we interact with our fans by answering questions, commenting on posts where we are tagged, and responding to comments on content we post,” shares Simons. “The integration makes managing our Instagram content that much easier.”

Build trust among your social media community

Simons has been successful in meeting his goals and building out a strong social media strategy. TerraCycle is unique as their brand is present in schools and places where there isn’t otherwise a lot of information on recycling and upcycling. “People want to be a part of the change and turn to us to find out how they can help,” he shares.

TerraCycle has Brigade programs that rally schools, businesses, and organizations to collect waste in turn for donations to charities of their choice. The Brigade programs turn brand partners’ waste into recycled products and goods. “Many of our supporters join us online to learn and do more—but also to have fun with it,” Simons says.

TerraCycle’s Facebook Page is a place for like-minded people to meet, share, and gather support from others looking to make a difference environmentally. Beyond conversations about current green topics and environmental news, TerraCycle’s Page is full of fun facts, quotes, and DIY videos from their design team.

The results

An idea shared globally

TerraCycle needed to effectively manage these communities, social networks, conversations, and content. “Turning to Hootsuite, we can schedule in advance, monitor conversations, be present and active on multiple networks at once and amplify media, press, and TerraCycle Brigade messages like never before,” he says. “For these reasons, being a one-man social team is absolutely manageable.”

With over 70,000 Facebook likes, 37,000 engaged Twitter followers and a growing community of close to 6,000 Instagram followers, TerraCycle’s social media strategy is capturing the attention of an expansive audience. “Nature doesn’t have waste, but humans created products that don’t decompose,” Simons says. “This is detrimental to our planet. We want to take things back to the roots and create sustainable futures for communities around the globe. To do this, we’re interrupting the cycle of post-consumer waste and making ourselves known.”

Without Hootsuite, it wouldn’t be possible for me to manage all our content, conversations, and effectively convey our message to our community.


David Simons
Global Digital Media ManagerTerraCycle