Mother Earth Living

Garbage Moguls: TerraCycle Turns Trash Into Treasure

Follow this small company's creative team as they rummage through the landfill looking for their next great product idea.
By Kim Wallace
April 2009 Web
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TerraCycle CEO Tom Szaky flies a kite made entirely from Oreo wrappers.
Photo Courtesy National Geographic/Garbage Moguls


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Premiering tonight on National Geographic at 9 pm EST, the Earth Day special "Garbage Moguls" follows the Trenton, New Jersey-based company TerraCycle as it attempts to turn trash into treasure. TerraCycle, led by 27-year-old CEO Tom Szaky, salvages waste from landfills to make useful products such as pencils, reusable bags, clocks, coasters and other household and office items.

Tune in tonight to follow the TerraCycle team’s creative process, which includes field trips to the landfill and automobile junkyard. The team faces the challenge of constructing a kite made entirely from Oreo wrappers to present to Wal-Mart executives and designing a messenger bag made from old billboards and seat belts to present to Office Max executives.

“Garbage is a man-made idea, and we’ve created garbage because we haven’t created solutions for it,” Szaky says. “We take waste, we add design and produce mass merchandise.” 

TerraCycle employs more than 50 people in Trenton, New Jersey. Find TerraCycle products at Wal-Mart, OfficeMax, The Home Depot and Target. Register to win a TerraCycle recycled vinyl record clock. 

More about recycled products

• TerraCycle transforms chip bags into consumer products. Find out how you can get involved.

• Make lunch fashionable with recycled plastic lunch boxes, coffee cups and water bottles from Aladdin eCycle.

• Show your green stripes with eco-friendly pens from Zebra.








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