Making garbage useful with Tom Szaky of TerraCycle

Tom Szaky runs a recycling company, but he’d rather live in a world where recycling was obsolete… 

Today, his company recycles everything from shampoo bottles and makeup containers to snack wrappers and cigarette butts. And through their recent Loop initiative, TerraCycle works with consumer brands to develop packaging that is actually reusable — an even more effective waste-reduction tactic than recyclable packaging. 

This week on How I Built This Lab, Tom recounts his entrepreneurial journey launching a worm poop fertilizer company from his college dorm room, then transforming that company into a multimillion dollar recycling business. Also, why Tom’s ultimate goal is to put himself out of business, and how our actual path to eliminating waste is radically reducing consumption.  

This episode was produced by J.C. Howard and edited by John Isabella, with research by Kerry Thompson and music by Ramtin Arablouei. Our audio engineer was James Willetts. 

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