Posts with term Tom-Blog X

Is the Green Bubble a Good Thing?

Lately, I have heard lots of talk about the "Green Bubble" as the next looming boom and bust on the horizon. It is true that far too much loosely invested money is driving up prices on any company to tied clean energy, biofuels, or clean water. The green revolution in business does fit the bill for a looming bust. Many see eco-innovation, especially alternative fuels and energy sources as the future, and rightly so. But looming trends in innovation often cause over-exuberance and "gold rushes" into a market, which can only sustain so much growth and investment. The dot-com and housing busts are just the most recent examples.

The Plastic Bag: To Re-Use or Not to Re-Use

The Wall Street Journal ran a fascinating piece a couple of weeks ago on the emergence of the reusable bag as the go-to green choice of retailers nationwide – and the eco-disaster these bags represent. A lot of leading retailers offer reusable bags – they’re the hip new green thing to be doing… and some municipalities (San Francisco) and retailers (Ikea) have taken the initiative to forbid the use of the ubiquitous “disposable” plastic bag.

Tom Szaky: Do Green Companies Need Green Employees?

One of the most challenging parts of building a lean and mean green company is finding the right balance of experience and passion. Especially in a young upstart company – like TerraCycle – where the status quo is often thrown out the window in favor of shaking up the typical “business as usual” model. But is it better (or even appropriate) to hire people who are committed to being green outside of work as well? Many people may think that personal devotion to a company’s ideal – or green ideals in general – would make a better employee for a green business, and should weigh heavily on whether someone can work in a “green” company. But when push comes to shove, isn’t it more important to have people who know how to accomplish something – even if they don’t recycle at home, or bike to work, or buy offsets for their air-travel-related carbon emissions?

Introducing Tom Szaky, CEO TerraCycle: Becoming Aware

Everyone experiences those formative “A-ha!” moments when a scene or image strikes us in a profound way. Many spend their lives building beliefs and passions stemming from that very moment. My life’s dream, to champion the triple bottom line business model and eco-capitalism, was inspired by very two similar moments in my formative years. My family left Hungary as political refugees in eighties and after a brief stop in Holland, settled down in Toronto. It was in this environmental progressive city that my first moment occurred. Wandering, as children do, through my family’s apartment building I found a stack of old televisions ready to be thrown away. In Hungary, a TV of any kind was a luxury, so I was taken a back that these perfectly fine TV sets were being discarded simply because they were outdated. I found the wastefulness of this image staggering, that people would freely discard goods or materials that must still have value seemed unfathomable.

Upcycling vs. Recycling: What's Better?

I recently got a note from my friend Eric Hudson at Recycline. By way of background, Recycline is an amazing company that takes #5 plastic and recycles it into new products like toothbrushes. It even has a #5 take-back program similar to our yogurt brigade, which I blogged about in this post. Recycline is a landmark company in the green revolution. I even brush my teeth with the company's amazing toothbrushes.

How Do We Know You Aren't Just Green Washing?

As the CEO of a company that proudly touts its products as eco-friendly, I am often asked by reporters, investors, and others, "How do we know you aren't just Green Washing?" For TerraCycle, the answer is easy. We manufacture and package most of our products entirely from waste -- Including a lot of non-recyclable waste. So if weren't making use of the waste, you can be sure it would be in a landfill somewhere.

Tom Szaky: Thinking In and Outside the Wrapper

When you think of socially responsible companies, Mars, the candy-focused food company is not likely to be the first one that comes to mind. And yet, perhaps it will, as they have recently made two monumental commitments, with action and money to back it up. They encompass both what’s in and outside the wrapper.

Don't Blame Bottled Water!

In launching TerraCycle's lines of liquid fertilizer, cleaners, repellents, etc., I realized something: Almost all products that are sold as liquid in a bottle -- from window cleaner to ant repellent -- are in fact extremely similar to bottled water. In most cases, the difference is only 1% to 2% of the contents. In other words, these products are typically 98% to 99% water -- no matter which brand you're looking at, eco-friendly or otherwise. This is true even with TerraCycle products.

Should Green Products Be Priced Higher?

Here's a real world quandary. At TerraCycle we recently launched a line of ultimate eco-friendly cleaners. Their efficacy is great (same or even better in some cases than the synthetics). They are packaged in used soda bottles, with end run triggers, and moreover, they retail at a strong price ($2.99 for a 1L bottle). We've gained some fantastic distribution from Office Max to Target and have been happy with the sell through.

The IP Rights of Waste (and how to avoid getting sued)

It is clear that it is uncool to copy the trademarked and patented Coca-Cola plastic 20-ounce bottle and fill it with some form of beverage. It's uncool (and illegal) because you would be benefiting from all of the work that Coke put into developing the shape and the brand. But let's say someone buys that Coke bottle and throws it out, and it's collected and ends up at my factory. I then clean it and refill it with TerraCycle worm poop or cleaner or repellent and sell it to Home Depot. Moreover, I mix it in with other brands of bottles that come across our factory floor, including Pepsi brands and other random brands. In this case would Coke have a case if it wanted to stop TerraCycle from employing the used Coke bottles? It's a moot point because Coke actually wants us to use its bottles, but — hypothetically speaking — I don't think Coke would have a case because we're not benefiting from the bottles' shape. In fact, use all shapes without any discrimination (all garbage has equal rights).