Tom Szaky

TAGS: CEO, College and Universities, Entrepreneur, Environment, Sustainability

Tom Szaky

Tom Szaky is founder and Chief Executive Officer of Terracycle, a company that enables consumers to collect non-recyclable waste, from used juice pouches to used cigarettes. The collected material is then reused, upcycled or recycled into thousands of various products and materials. TerraCycle has won over 200 environmental and social awards for its work.

In 2003, as a sophomore, Tom left Princeton University to found TerraCycle, building a company that has grown in size every year since its inception (making the Inc 500 list for the fast growing companies in America three times). Tom has personally won over 50 awards for entrepreneurship, blogs for Treehugger, Huffington Post, the New York Times and a number of other major websites and in 2007 published his first book entitled "Revolution in a Bottle.” Tom is also the star of the National Geographic Channel TV show, "Garbage Moguls" and is publishing his second book "Outsmart Waste" in early 2014.

Today TerraCycle, through partnerships with virtually all major CPG companies from Kimberly-Clark to Kraft Foods, operates in over 23 countries, has over 40 million people engaged in its waste collection programs, has collected over 5 billion pieces of non-recyclable waste and in the process donated over $8 million dollars to charities to collect that waste. TerraCycle has been featured in virtually every major media outlet from "60 Minutes" to Oprah to the Wall Street Journal and is on it’s way to help us eliminate the idea of waste.



  • Making the Impossible Possible

    Hear about Tom’s success in starting a company, developing an innovative culture within the company and ultimately achieving success. This is the story of TerraCycle, from idea to 100% growth per year for five years, in over 10,000 big box stores, and growing. All products made from and packaged in waste. Cover of Inc. Magazine, full page NYTimes and WS Journal stories and hundreds of stories annually.

  • Understanding the Dynamics and Economics of Waste

    What are opportunities in today’s environment? How can you see and capitalize on hidden assets and grow businesses in a constrained economy? The keys are quality, pricing, innovation and customer engagement. Using examples from TerraCycle, Tom Szaky explains the importance of a big idea, whether social mission or in a larger service context.

    Szaky tells how to generate disproportionate press and to attract participation from your customers, laying out a strategic sales strategy with a green emphasis in the Obama era.

  • Outsmart Waste: The Modern Idea of Garbage and How to Think Our Way Out of It

    Eco-entrepreneur Tom Szaky says that to outsmart waste, first we have to understand it, then change how we create it, and finally rethink what we do with it. He traces the roots of our current garbage crisis to 20th-century social shifts and technological advances that resulted in historic changes in consuming habits—both the amount of garbage created and its longevity increased dramatically. We are now producing five billion tons of waste a year, and our only ways of dealing with it are crude and even dangerous: burying it or burning it. We can do better! MORE →

    Revolution in a Bottle: From Worm Poop to a Garbage Empire That Is Redefining Green Business

    While a freshman at Princeton, Tom Szaky co-founded a company that recycles garbage into worm poop, liquefies it, then packages it in used soda bottles, creating TerraCycle Plant Food. Less than five years later, this all-natural, highly effective fertilizer was available in every Home Depot, Target, Wal-Mart, and more than 3000 other locations. It’s a thrilling entrepreneurial success story—and it’s just the beginning of what makes Revolution in a Bottle fascinating... MORE →


  • New York Times Blog
  • Profiles and articles: NY Times, Jerusalem Times, Wall Street Journal, German Financial Times, Inc. Magazine, CNBC, Time
  • Video: Keynote
  • Tom's Lecture in Israel: Part 1 - 2 - 3 - 4
  • @TerraCycle: Follow Tom on Twitter