Archive for August, 2009

TerraCycle’s Tom Szaky on Green Business

Tuesday, August 25th, 2009

Dwight Zahringer, Tom Szaky, and Dario Chiarini

Check Out RFC’s Transcript from the Discussion with Tom Szaky

The rise of environmental concerns over the years has resulted in more businesses becoming socially responsible, however, a number of businesses still believe “It’s not easy being Green” because they are unsure about how to implement a successful eco-friendly strategy and are uncertain about the costs associated with it.

Tom Szaky from TerraCycle, Inc. recently discussed with RFC how companies can incorporate green ideas into their business, while increasing sales at the same time. He also explained how the internet can play a significant role in creating awareness of a company’s effort to stay environmentally-friendly.

TerraCycle History

Tom Szaky, 27, came up with the idea for TerraCycle while he was a student at Princeton in 2001.  His idea to use worm poop as a fertilizer started when one of his friends needed help fertilizing a dying plant. Tom’s idea not only saved the plant, but started off his journey to build a multimillion dollar company.

“We started feeding them worm poop, which is basically organic waste fed to worms and the plants started doing incredibly well,” stated Tom.

From there he dropped out of Princeton to dedicate time to developing his business of worm poop fertilizer. TerraCycle started off small, but with a big idea to eliminate waste. With the help of good friends and his persistence with big retailers like Wal-Mart and Home Depot, he was able to stay afloat and expand his business to where it is today.

TerraCycle Domination
TerraCycle has now expanded beyond worm poop fertilizer and works with national brands such as Kraft, Mars, Frito-Lay, American Greetings and other major companies to help fund them to run national campaigns. TerraCycle has developed a variety of different product line ranging from pencil cases and backpacks to shower curtains and holiday gift bows.

TerraCycle is responsible for collecting and supplying the major brands with the product, who then manufacture the product themselves and then give TerraCycle the end result to distribute nationally. TerraCycle products will also be showing up in national retailers like Macy’s, JCPenney and Kohl’s starting in 2010.

TerraCycle have been featured on national news programs like CNN, Good Morning America and Oprah, which have definitely helped spread awareness about TerraCycle. Tom stated how spreading awareness is a “critical piece” for establishing a successful business. Garbage Moguls, TerraCycle’s new TV series on National Geographic, premiered a couple months ago and is another example of how TerraCycle tries to get the word out as much as possible. Each episode follows TerraCycle as they take a waste stream, make it into a product and then sell it to a major retailer.

How Businesses CAN “Go Green”

Tom’s success with TerraCycle makes him an excellent person to give advice to aspiring businesses who want to incorporate green ideas. Tom explained how the key to development of a good environmental strategy is to not only to understand the consumer, but also build a great business.

“It’s not about what the business cares about, it’s what the consumer cares about,” stated Tom. He explains how the critical challenge is developing a “green” strategy without charging premium prices, because “as long as it is not more expensive to be socially responsible then consumers will see value in it.”

Tom explains how at TerraCycle they try and “Demonstrate that by partnering with them that companies are going to be able to grow their business and sell more products.” He also explains how companies need to make their own decision about going green and they should make that decision to help grow the business.

“I would encourage people who are out there looking to make a change in how the world, to look at major companies and (try to) help them change because that’s where really big scale will happen really quickly,” said Tom. “Most major companies are really concerned and thoughtful around the environment. These companies want to put resources there and they want do it right.”

This would be a great place to start for anyone who wants to become more socially responsible.

Going Green Online

In our discussion with Tom he stated how the internet not only creates awareness about TerraCycle, but is also a vital resource for them to stay in business since anyone wants to become involved with TerraCycle must sign-up online.

“The Internet is the best way to get the word out and get people excited and interested in what you’re building,” stated Tom.

“Blogging is a critical piece,” says Tom, which is why he blogs for Inc. Magazine and Treehugger among several other online resources. Creating awareness is the key to establishing any business. You must try to get the word out in as many ways as you can and the Internet is an excellent way to do that.

Get Involved with TerraCycle

In order to sign-up you must go TerraCycle website, create an account and choose what waste stream you want. When you sign-up for a waste stream then TerraCycle will send you free boxes for your specific waste. You simply download a UPS sticker and send it in. Then TerraCycle donates $.02 per every unit of waste you send to them, and then you must allocate the money to any charity or school in America. This system has resulted in billions of units of waste.

“Green is a very powerful thing to leverage if it’s done properly and can actually build sales in a really big way compared to traditional methods of marketing and advertising,” stated Tom.

Start Going Green Today

Here at Recycling For Charities, we love to support people who promote recycling and other eco-friendly practices. We hope that our discussion with Tom Szaky from TerraCycle will help businesses realize that while it may not be easy being green, it is definitely possible and definitely something to consider pursuing to help expand your business.

Tom’s efforts are very admirable for anyone interested in green business. Here at RFC, we encourage all of our followers to join him in his initiatives! Be sure to visit TerraCycle and sign-up to get started today!

Disney Begins Project Green

Wednesday, August 19th, 2009

Disney has recently gotten popular celebrities such as Miley Cyrus and the Jonas Brother to sway the tween crowd to preserve the planet. They are hoping that they can make green issues understandable for this age group and show them how easy it is to curb their impact.

Disney Stars Sit On Sofa Made of Recycled Jean Fabric

Since May, over 350,000 young people have already registered on the website for Project Green.  Registering is simple and allows them to track their impact and vote how Disney should use the $1 million in donations that they have received.  Disney focuses on 4 different areas for these donations: climate change, habitat preservation, water conservation, and waste reduction.

Find out more by visiting Disney online!  And as always remember that you can recycle your used cell phones, mp3s, iPods, and digital cameras and send the proceeds to a charity of your choice with Recycling For Charities today!

Back To School Tips For Reducing Waste

Thursday, August 13th, 2009

The end of August means that children everywhere are going back to school!  Here are a few planning tips to help you reduce your waste as you ready your children for school:

1) Re-use everything and anything you can.  This list includes: paper, pens, folders, binders, backpacks, calculators, etc.

2) If you must purchase new school supplies, look for those made form recycled content or those that come in minimal packaging.

3) Waste from children’s lunches is huge and is very easy to reduce.  Send re-usable food and drink containers with your children.

4)  Donate any unusable items such as clothes, electronics, and other supplies; don’t allow them to go to waste because there are plenty of people who would appreciate these items.

5) Talk with your children about the benefits of reducing, re-using, and recycling items.  Starting children with good habits at a younger age promotes life long eco-friendly habits.

Make the Switch to E-books Today

Wednesday, August 12th, 2009

Reading is one of my favorite hobbies and although I love relaxing with a paperback in hand, I recently realized that this is not the most eco-friendly option for books.  The issue with books made out of paper is that the paper necessary to construct them must come from trees and it takes about 24 trees to produce a ton of printing paper for books.  Those trees should be preserved for the eco-systems they support and the oxygen they produce.  Aside from the issue of paper, paper books need ink and fossil fuels for their production and delivery.

With all the huge environmental coats, Electronic books or E-books begin to look like a wonderful alternative.  E-books do not utilize paper, ink, or fossil fuels and they will never end up in a landfill.  Although they do utilize energy, it is necessary to realize that they use much less energy to create than other books do.  They also do not produce waste, harm eco-systems, or utilize fossil fuels.

Considering Americans buy more than 3 billion books a year, this seems like a great option for the eco-friendly minded.  E-books are space saving, easy to use, and waste-reducing!

Here at Recycling For Charities, we feel that an eco-friendly life is a life well lived.  Do not forget to support your charity and donate your used cell phones, iPods, MP3 players, digital cameras, and PDAs!

Recycling For Free: Freecycling

Tuesday, August 11th, 2009

Out of convenience, many of us haul items down to the curb and send them off in a garbage truck never to be seen again.  It is one of those “out of sight, out of mind” scenarios.  Yet, instead of allowing items that are still in good condition to end up in the landfill, why not allow someone else to get a second use out of the item?

There is now a program that offers this exact service and it’s called Freecycling! It began as a grassroots effort to encourage people to recycle and reuse items and now people of different communities are getting involved in the efforts.

On the Freecycling website, you can join others from your community  in their reuse and recycling initiatives or you can start a group in your own community!  Then you can upload photos of your items and check out what others have to offer.  The best part about this program is it is entirely free; no money is ever exchanged!

If you are interested in participating in a program like this be sure to check out the Freecycling website and get started today!!

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