June 2022

BBC's Panorama 'Exposé'

Our response to their so-called 'investigation' into TerraCycle


In December 2021 we opened a collection point for crisp packets, and send them to TerraCycle for recycling. Recently BBC Panorama made a documentary 'investigating' TerraCycle, and after watching it we wanted to make our thoughts on TerraCycle clear.

TerraCycle is a stepping stone to a more sustainable planet, and as such should not be relied upon forever. Yes, the big companies who produce the most plastic waste need to innovate their packaging to remove the problem altogether, but that takes time. Until plastic packaging has been stopped at the source, something needs to be done about the waste that we have, and TerraCycle has the answer for that.

Their community recycling programs are set up and run by volunteers, such as ourselves, who collect plastic waste from their communities and send it to TerraCycle. They then process it into reusable plastic, saving it from going to landfill, incineration, or from spoiling our beaches. These collection points are all about engaging your local community and getting people interested in recycling, and we can say that it has worked for us!

The Panorama team complained that Terracycle had only collected the equivalent of 1% of Hula Hoops packets consumed in the UK, but the blame for that does not lie on TerraCycle and KP. What the BBC should have done was educate the public about the benefits of collecting plastic waste as a community and taking it to TerraCycle points, as most people do not know they exist or understand how to use them. That is how TerraCycle can get past that 1% figure. Instead, the BBC spent half an hour attacking the people who are actually trying to make a difference - I don't see how turning people away from TerraCycle is going to help reduce the country's plastic waste.

Finally, regarding the bales of KP waste that ended up in Bulgaria, this is obviously concerning. However, TerraCycle explained what happened and had already stopped working with the subcontractor who made the error. If that was the only thing that Panoramas investigative team could dig up on TerraCycle, then we're happy.

The documentary came across as an investigative crew desperate to pin something on a company that is trying to make a difference in the world, and was a complete non story. We at Hewits are still fully behind TerraCycle and their recycling programs, and as the BBC complained that there were not enough volunteer run recycling points, we' ve decided to now add two more waste streams to ours.

Head over to our TerraCycle page to see what we now collect from our local community. If you are visiting our warehouse or live in our area then feel free to bring recycling to our collection point. Otherwise, we encourage you to pop over to the TerraCycle website and find local collection points near you.


For any queries related to the TerraCycle Recycling Initiative, please contact:

Andrew Barlee - Sustainability and Environment Manager
J Hewit & Sons Ltd
12 Nettlehill Road
Houstoun Industrial Estate
Livingston, West Lothian, EH54 5DL

Tel: 01506 444160       Fax: 01506 437749      Email: ab@hewit.com