Location: Trenton, NJ
Industry: Waste management
Founder and CEO
ONE COUNTRY AT A TIME
Unlike most other companies, TerraCycle, Inc.’s greatest challenge is not overcoming competitors. Instead, the company is in a constant fight to show the world that its cause is a worthwhile one. “It’s really making sure people care. We have to make the topic important to them,” says founder and CEO Tom Szaky. TerraCycle’s mission is to find a way to eliminate the very idea of waste. To accomplish its goal, TerraCycle has a plan that is already in action. “We do that by creating collection and recycling platforms for waste streams that are currently not municipally recyclable, such as cigarette butts, pens and so on,” says Szaky.
Quick Tip: “Always be open to taking your business in a new direction. If I had just focused on the path we were on, we might still be selling fertilizer.”
Though the world’s general trend toward greener consumer behavior has helped fuel the company’s growth, perhaps its biggest catalyst has been its culture. “TerraCycle has a culture of fierce innovation, which is fueled by our culture [of] transparency, excitement and purpose,” says Szaky. Still, the process of ridding the world of waste isn’t easy, as TerraCycle must move from waste stream to waste stream, on a country-by-country basis. Nonetheless, the company plans to grow its operations from 26 to 50 countries over the next five to 10 years. Along the way, Terracycle wants to keep working with companies to find and provide recycling solutions, and to continue to be a leader in the discussion of managing worldwide resources.