People We Love :: Tom Szaky

One Man’s Garbage, Another's Revolution

One Man’s Garbage, Another’s Revolution

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A worm bin in a friend’s kitchen helped Princeton student Tom Szaky recognize an opportunity to keep garbage out of landfills and create a successful business.

In 2001, he co-founded Terracycle, the first company to make all of its products and packaging out of waste. The business sells plant food made from worm poop and packaged in reused plastic bottles. It ships its products in misprinted boxes that other companies discard.

Terracycle has achieved success over the last seven years and expanded beyond plant food.

Recently, the company started a program called “sponsored waste,” in which schools and community groups collect and send in discarded food containers. The business plans to make the containers into new products, and compensate the groups with donations to the nonprofit of their choice.

In 2006, Szaky was named “No. 1 CEO under 30” by Inc. Magazine, beating out Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook.