TerraCycle: Turning Garbage Into Gold!
A few weeks (and postings) ago, I had a chance to see the CEO & Founder of TerraCycle.net present at the CORE: club. I was really blown away by their business and curious to see more for myself, so we called them up and asked if we could get a tour.
Today George and I went down to Trenton NJ for a visit and all I can say is... Wow! Wow! And Wow! We spent close to 3 hours today at TerraCycle and the story just keeps getting better.
First, a big shout out to Albe Zakes, TerraCycle's PR whiz (and a great story in his own right - more on that in a future post) for so expertly delivering us the full tour of TerraCycle's facilities and operations.
We got to see first-hand how they collect and sort garbage of all types from schools, communities and manufacturers, then turn it into a bewildering array of products sold in major retailers countrywide. The scope of the operation boggles the mind: There was a 100K sq foot warehouse filled with left over clothing material, Coke and Pepsi bottles, milk jugs, wooden barrels, plastic drink pouches, reclaimed vinyl billboards, and shredded mylar wrapping material. All neatly organized in bins or bays, barcode scanned and cataloged. Hence one of their mottos: "The only difference between a landfill and TerraCycle is we're sorted!"
And all of it gets converted into backpacks, wall clocks, fertilizer, home cleaner, plant pots, you name it. You can see the full slideshow tour here.
At the end we had a chance to meet with Tom Szaky the CEO and Founder of TerraCycle. Like the rest of the gang here he's in his mid to late twenties - humbling for a couple of 30-40 somethings like us...
He talked about all the cool new stuff they are plannng including the release of his new book - "Revolution in a Bottle" - and their pilot reality TV show episode - Garbage Moguls - which will air on the National Geographic Channel on Earth Day (we got to see an advance copy of it and it's absolutely fantastic).
As a PR and Marketing machine, these guys are firing on all cylinders and seem poised to become the GE of "eco-capitalism". The energy and vision you pick up from them is contagious too, and its inspiring to suddenly look at garbage everywhere and see potential products.
Look for their stuff next time you are in Target, Walmart, Stop & Shop, Walgreens, Office Max or a Home Depot near you. Or just check them out online at http://www.terracycle.net