Tom is the founder of TerraCycle, an American company that makes consumer products from waste. It all begain in 2001 with a simple idea to make an organic fertilizer from worm poo;today TerraCycle has grown into a company with annual revenues in excess of $25 million, providing free waste collection programs for hard to recycle materials-and then turning that waste into affordable green products. TerraCycle now operates in 26 countries.
TerraCycle has developed a range of volunteer-led recycling systems that enables individuals, families, schools, or community groups to establish “Brigades” to collect a specific waste stream such as coffee capsules, cosmetic packaging and recently, cigarette buts. Its Bottle Brigade program, where schools and communities can send in recyclables for cash, operates in more than 26 countries around the world. In this interview Tom talks about:
- The economics of recycling
- How to leverage purpose to enhance impact
- How TerraCycle has built a 60 million volunteer support group
- Why social entrepreneurs need to plan for success assuming they don’t have the benefit of purpose or social impact
- The power of partnerships to achieve impact