Since 2001, TerraCycle founder Tom Szaky has been working hard to eliminate the idea of “waste.” The idea behind the company is to figure out how to repurpose waste, especially hard to recycle waste. They have literally repurposed billions of pieces of waste through innovative programs and partnering with conscientious companies, organizations and individuals. In their own words, “TerraCycle offers free recycling programs funded by brands, manufacturers, and retailers around the world to help you collect and recycle your hard-to-recycle waste.”
To get a better understanding of the diverse ways in which the company operates, you have to look at the breakdown of their collection platforms. From hairballs to chewing gum to shoes and footwear. Yep, hairballs, that’s what I said! Apparently the company has a program in which you can collect hair clippings and synthetic hair from wigs and weaves which will be transformed into compost and plastic. TerraCycle’s Zero Waste Box™ platform (cost involved) allows businesses and individuals to recycle virtually any type of waste imaginable.
The company will also work with your city government, individual organizations, events and businesses in setting up on-site recycling programs around a particular kind of waste. Cigarette waste is the most common waste stream program currently used by cities.
Closed Loop Solutions
TerraCycle’s purpose is to figure out how to re-use hard to recycle materials, developing circular solutions, creating customized materials for a company’s specific manufacturing needs that can be used as a sustainable alternative to virgin materials and thus diverting waste products from ending up in landfills and incinerators.
Retail Arm of TerraCycle
DwellSmart is the online retail arm of TerraCycle, which offers a large range of products including flooring, carpeting, cleaning supplies, home and garden products (just to name a few) manufactured using recycled materials.
This Floors Me
COREtec® is a great example of how one company closes the loop by manufacturing unique and sustainable flooring made from recycled wood and bamboo dust collected through the efforts of TerraCycle. They offer durable FSC (Forrest Stewardship Council) certified, commercial quality products.
The Reality of Running an Eco-Friendly Business
TerraCycle puts its money where its mouth is in that their offices throughout the world are made using recycled waste, from head to toe. The company has such a unique and quirky work culture, they felt compelled to create a comedic reality TV show. Human Resources is in its 3rd season and follows the day-to-day challenges faced by the company and its staff and is available on iTunes.