Your PopCulteer was tied up with other projects, to which I’ve vaguely alluded the last few days, and I missed this cool news item for Earth Day. It is still very cool news, and April is still “Earth Month,” so let me tell you about how balloons can get better for the environment.

ZURU, the innovative toy company that we’ve been telling you about for some time now, has partnered with Terracycle, an innovative recycling company that’s been making big waves this week.

Just yesterday, ZURU announced that the company’s “deliberate 360-degree sustainability initiatives have led to over 1,200 tons of virgin plastic being removed from its top-selling and 100% recyclable Bunch O Balloons brand. The huge 57% increase over ZURU’s original goal of 800 tons announced last year is a result of robust 2021 retail orders.”

Their press release goes on to elaborate…

Over 704 million balloons in ZURU’s Bunch O Balloons line distributed online through Amazon are now made with recycled (non-virgin) plastics, and will also ship with ZURU’s new recyclable, frustration-free packaging (FFP) that will reduce excess Bunch O Balloons packaging materials, and which the company estimates will result in another 29 tons of plastic being saved through Amazon sales in the United States this year alone.

“We’re thrilled to report these significant milestones as part of our commitment to make a transparent and lasting global impact,” said ZURU Chief Operating Officer Anna Mowbray, who was also named 2020 Wonder Woman in Manufacturing by the global organization Women in Toys, Licensing & Entertainment (WIT). “It’s critical that we lead our industry by example and make meaningful, environmentally-conscious changes in our products with the future of our planet top of mind. We share this long-term commitment to conscious sustainability with both our business partners, as well as children and families around the world.”

Mowbray continued, “We were able to improve both the manufacturing process and materials used – today we source and upcycle 100% certified and traceable used plastics that are found in landfills and polluting our oceans, and ZURU consumers in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand can recycle at no cost to them by sending their used Bunch O Balloons parts, balloon pieces and foil bag packaging to renowned recycling company TerraCycle.”

ZURU also announces a move to plastic-free packaging on ZURU’s Sparkle Girlz products by 2025, and ZURU programs that will reduce CO2 emissions by optimizing space required to ship its Tiny Town products. A unique stackable design and shipping method means that ZURU can pack three times the number of Tiny Town pieces per shipment, which reduces shipping and product costs and therefore reduces its carbon footprint.

From day-to-day operations to leading the change in the toy industry, ZURU operates with a continued commitment to a sustainable future. From rethinking how ZURU designs new and existing products, reducing the use of plastics and their products carbon footprint, and offering consumers easy avenues to recycle, all while still delivering a top-quality experience.

It’s great to see ZURU leading the toy industry to this next and important step in the evolution of recycling.  You may have heard of Terracycle earlier this week when they unveiled a partnership with Taco Bell to reclaim used taco sauce packets. Terracycle has also partnered with Kroger, MONAT, Subaru, Herbal Essence and other huge companies to reclaim vast amounts of plastics and keep them out of landfills or our oceans.

Terracycle has been around for a few years, but they seem to be kicking into high gear now. Terracycle collects what were previously thought to be unrecyclable plastics, arranges for them to be washed, shredded and processed, and then TerraCycle sells the pellets to manufacturers such as injection molders or extruders to create products such as plastic lumber, containers and Dunnage (large containers used for carrying objects). Acording to Resource, Composite decking company TimberTech and global retailer Ikea were the top two buyers of recycled materials in 2016.

It’s really cool to see ZURU getting into the act, because in the end, anything that’s good for the planet, is good for us all.