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Tom Szaky

Founder and Chief Executive Officer, TerraCycle, a global leader in the collection and recycling of post-consumer waste. Developed a unique business model that offers free recycling programmes funded by brands, manufacturers and retailers around the world. By creating turnkey and affordable recycling options, TerraCycle enables these parties to move from a linear to circular economy. Author of three books: “Revolution in a Bottle” (2009), “Outsmart Waste” (2014) and “Garbage is Great” (2016). Recipient of numerous social, environmental and business awards from the United Nations, World Economic Forum and Environmental Protection Agency.

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TerraCycle
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Model
For-profit Social Enterprise
Sectors
Engineering and Construction; Real Estate; Climate Change; Circular Economy; The Ocean
Headquarters
USA
Areas of Impact
North America, Latin America, Latin America, Eurasia, Europe, Svalbard and Jan Mayen Islands, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United Kingdom, USA, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, People's Republic of China, Denmark, France, Ireland, Mexico, Germany, Norway, Netherlands

TerraCycle

TerraCycle is a world leader in the collection and recycling of hundreds of traditionally non-recycled waste streams that are otherwise landfilled or incinerated. TerraCycle operates national programmes to recycle products and packaging in 21 countries, combining innovation, R&D, logistics, marketing and promotion to develop customized business models for clients, including major consumer packaged goods companies, retailers, distributors, facilities and cities.

TerraCycle works with its clients to generate awareness and to drive value, such as positive PR, sales lifts, brand differentiation value, and employee engagement through their customized recycling programme. TerraCycle reverse engineers planned obsolescence, turning a vicious cycle into a virtuous one, by engaging major sectors of the consumption cycle (manufacturers, brands, retailers and consumers) in the process of recycling and by providing incentives to each.

TerraCycle engages a wide-spectrum of collectors across many age, gender, political and socio-economic demographics. It has over 80,000 voluntary collection locations globally, including schools, offices and city streets. TerraCycle uses third parties to ship collections (through common carriers such as UPS in the US, Royal Mail in the UK, Sagawa in Japan, etc.) and for warehousing and recycling facilities, but keeps R&D, marketing, and communications in-house.

TerraCycle's core mission is to eliminate the idea of waste; as such, the company's focus has expanded upon recycling the non-recyclable to creating closed-loop applications and building new innovative waste-eliminating platforms. For example, TerraCycle manages a beach/ocean plastic collection and recycling supply chain. TerraCycle collects the plastic, with the support of NGOs in over 35 countries and recycles the material into a format that is used by P&G to manufacture Head & Shoulders packaging (and soon Tide and Fairy). TerraCycle has also developed the world's first global recycling database to increase recycling rates of already recyclable items through local solutions. The database is used by cities, manufacturers and NGOs. Finally, TerraCycle is leading a consortium of major consumer product companies, retailers and logistics companies to launch a global, zero-waste, durable packaging system that will void disposability. These initiatives are part of TerraCycle’s ongoing mission to eliminate the very concept of waste.