If you want to partner with a local business, restaurant, or store to help increase collections and raise awareness of your recycling efforts, it’s important to approach them in a friendly manner and show the business how you can help them, not just how they can help you. In addition to a letter of invitation, you should give them a flyer and photos of your Brigade boxes and collections so they can understand what you are talking about. It’s a good idea to also give them your contact information so they can get in touch if they have questions, or after thinking about what you’ve asked.


In your letter of invitation, explain who you are, why you are collecting, where you already collect, and how collections work. When you address the letter, try to individualize it. Find out the name of the manager, and address it to them. Explain what you collect, and how the money raised will be used.  Also be sure to tell them it is a good local PR and marketing opportunity that will help drive traffic to their stores.

For example:

Dear Mr./Mrs. Manager,

Here at TerraCycle Elementary, we have a recycling “Brigade” that collects traditionally non-recyclable items including chip bags, drink pouches, and pens. We send the trash to TerraCycle, an upcycling and recycling company, and we earn money for each item we send in.

We would like to ask you if you would participate in our collection “Brigade” as a drop-off point. This would involve having a box or two in which people from the community could put these non-recyclable items. We would provide signs explaining the boxes, and we would empty the boxes twice a week. Having the collections from your store would help us increase the amount of wrappers we could send in, and increase the money that we raise for our school.

Having a collection box at your store would also increase foot traffic to your store, and increase your store’s presence in our community. The store could also be mentioned on flyers. On top of the environmental and charity benefit, the store will be able to help support a local school and distinguish itself.

When we spread the word about our collections, the store will be mentioned as a supporter of the Brigade and as a drop off location – which will help bring customers in to your store!

We appreciate your consideration and your support of our school and fundraising efforts!

Thank you!

TerraCycle Elementary

It’s important that the store understands how both of you and the community can benefit from having the boxes! Also, don’t pressure them to make a decision on the spot – that makes likely to say no because they haven’t had time to think. Tell them you’ll follow up a week later to see if they are interested.


Have you ever approached one of your local businesses to serve as a drop off point or collaborate with your school or organization? How did you do it? How did it turn out? Let us know at comments@terracycle.com and you’ll have a chance to be spotlighted on the blog!


2 thoughts on “Approaching a local business: Will you help us collect?

  1. Our team approached our local Starbucks. I went by in person to speak to the manager. At first, I just asked if they would be willing to save their coffee bags. They agreed right away! Then I asked if they wanted to be a collection point for the rest of our brigades as well. Again, they said yes. We go twice a week to pick up and sometimes it still isn’t enough! LOTS of people love this drop off point. Starbucks has my contact info in case they overflow in between pickups. Once the coffee bag brigade stopped paying for shipping, we couldn’t participate anymore (just couldn’t afford it). But Starbucks continues to be a drop off – and one of our most popular.
    Another tip – if you collect for more than one brigade at a business, make sure your signs are clear! Somehow people get the idea that you can take ANY kind of plastic. I have gotten the strangest things in the Starbucks drop off. I have no way to communicating with the people that drop off so I can’t explain it to them. Or consider only collecting ONE brigade item that fits with that business. Maybe chip bags at a sandwich shop.
    If you approach a business, try ones that are eco-friendly. We tried 2 other businesses in town -just collecting their items – and it didn’t work out in the end. They just didn’t understand the importance of upcycling or the PR we gave to them. Their business models really didn’t allow for any sort of “giving back” and it showed.

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