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March 25, 2009 / compassioninpolitics

Eco Capitalism: TerraCycle CEO Tom Szaky

Eco Capitalism at TerraCycle: Profits via Sustainabilityterracycle-ceo-tom-szaky1

Terra Cycle is an amazing social business which is powered on eco-capitalism, innovation, and worm poop. They transform waste via compost, which worms transform into poop, and then transform that into an eco-friendly fertilizer solution.

Their initial product use worm poop to create organic and natural fertilizers. In fact, It can outgrow Miracle Grow and its the only product in the world that is made entirely of waste.

Recycling Waste, Saving the Environment, and Improving Education
Terra Cycle gets recycled cola bottles from elementary school students via fundraisers and pays the schools a six cents per bottle. On the distribution side its in major outlets including Home Depot, Walmart, and Target.

In his interview on “The Big Idea” with Donny Deutch, the CEO and founder Tom Szaky says “Our goal is to become the green Proctor and Gamble.” Donny concludes, “It all started with…worm poop.” And its cheaper than some of the chemical alternatives which Szazy says “is the key.”

Discovery Channel’s Eco-Tech on TerraCycle: “Is Zero Waste Possible?”

The Future of Terra Cycle and Tom Szaky’s Vision
They’ve created an eco friendly fire log out of newspaper. Now he’s focused on turning food wrappers into “kites, shower curtains, pencil boxes…for Kraft and Frito Lay” Tom says I want to be the “Walmart of trash.”

Tom Szaky the CEO blogs at Eco Capitalist at Inc Magazine Online and has a free “Eco-capitalist Guidebook” at You can read “10 Tips for the Ecocapitalist”, check out more Terra Cycle videos, or read reviews of new book “Revolution in a Bottle” on Amazon. Finally, this pod cast interview with Tom, the CEO of Terracyle is interesting and informative.

The Case for Eco Capitalism: Concluding Thoughts on Terracycle and the Business of Waste

The Eco-capitalism Guidebook points out:

The good news is that in the long run, as garbage prices rise, corporations will start looking more closely at how to manage this cost and will bring on more robust recycling programs. This is all well and good, but for those who are willing to leverage the idea of waste now there are millions to be made.

This is the premise of modern eco-capitalism: leveraging the idea of waste. Since waste is a commodity, if you use it as your raw material you will enjoy negative raw material costs. In other words, people are willing to pay you for your raw materials. Imagine the profit potential of such a paradigm. You get paid on both ends: you get paid for your raw materials and paid for your finished product. Not bad eh? And best of all, you are doing a good thing in the process and increasing your environmental bottom line.

If you take this one step further and look at all of the other undesired elements in our modern society you will see just how much waste there is: from people to buildings. Soon you may just have a corporation that has multiple negative cost items on its budget.

I’m curious if this process or product can be used for helping farmers at the base of the pyramid. What do you think would make a great eco capitalist product or business model?

Alternative Video Resources about the Terra Cycle Story:

Terra Cycle Overview:

Tom Szaky of Terra Cycle interviewed on Donny Deutch’s “The Big Idea”

Terra Cycle Featured on Fox:

Terra Cycle CEO Tom Szaky on 20/20



Leave a Comment
  1. virmared santiago / Apr 22 2011 8:25 pm

    I loove what this guy does. His “There is no such thing as trash.” makes me sooooo happy!!!!


  1. Best Social Business Venture Posts of 2009 « Compassion in Politics: Christian Social Entrepreneurship, Non-Profits, and Base of the Pyramid/BOP Design Solutions

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