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Revolution in a Bottle: How TerraCycle Is Redefining Green Business
     

Revolution in a Bottle: How TerraCycle Is Redefining Green Business

by Tom Szaky, Paul Hawken (Foreword by)
 

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The amazing story of what Inc. calls "The coolest little startup in America."

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. Five years later, this all-natural, highly effective fertilizer is available in every Home Depot,

Overview

The amazing story of what Inc. calls "The coolest little startup in America."

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. Five years later, this all-natural, highly effective fertilizer is available in every Home Depot, Target,Wal?Mart, and more than 3000 other locations. It's a thrilling entrepreneurial success story-and just the beginning of what makes Revolution in a Bottle fascinating.

Szaky argues for a new approach to business, an "ecocapitalism" based on a "triple bottom line." Every business, he says, should aspire to be good for people, good for the environment, and (last but definitely not least) good for profits. He shows how the first two goals can help the third.

Many companies brag about being environmentally-friendly. But no one does it as effectively as TerraCycle. Now they're also reusing garbage to create new products, from bird feeders to tote bags, and even engaging major companies like Kraft and General Mills to sponsor their waste streams.

In the spirit of TerraCycle, this book will be printed on 100% recycled materials.

About the Cover:

This may look like a book jacket, but it's actually your very own upcycling container. Tom Szaky, founder of TerraCycle, is dedicated to eliminating the concept of waste. His firm works with other companies to collect and reuse nonrecyclable packaging and upcycle it into eco-friendly affordable products. And they want your help.

One such company is Bear Naked(r), an all-natural food and lifestyle brand that has partnered with Terra-Cycle to operate the Bear Naked(r) Bag Brigade. This free program makes a donation to a school or nonprofit for every bag a participant collects. Now you can join in by using your book jacket as an envelope. See the back flap for instructions-it's easy. Then fill it with a used Bear Naked(r) granola bag and drop it in a mailbox to become a part of TerraCycle's eco- revolution! Bear Naked(r) will even donate $1 to plant a tree in American Forests, up to $5,000. Offer expires 12/31/09 or after the first 25,000 copies are sold, whichever comes first.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“TerraCycle is doing more than selling good green products; it is changing how manufacturers, retailers, and consumers treat their waste. Read this book. I’m glad I did.”
—Ben Cohen, cofounder, Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781591842507
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
02/18/2009
Pages:
208
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.60(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Read an Excerpt

Table of Contents

Title Page

Copyright Page

Dedication

Foreword

Introduction

 

CHAPTER 1 - Up to My Neck

CHAPTER 2 - Praise to Marley, Let the Enlightenment Begin

CHAPTER 3 - Hard Times

CHAPTER 4 - The Carrot and the Stick

CHAPTER 5 - The Big-Box Approach

CHAPTER 6 - And Then It Clicked

CHAPTER 7 - The Wal-Mart Order

CHAPTER 8 - suedbyscotts.com

CHAPTER 9 - Why Can’t Everything Be Made from Waste?

CHAPTER 10 - Branded Waste and the Launch of Sponsored Waste

CHAPTER 11 - Sponsored Waste Takes Off

CHAPTER 12 - Upcycled Marketing

CHAPTER 13 - Eco-Capitalist Art and Society

CHAPTER 14 - The Art of Public Relations

CHAPTER 15 - How to Launch an Eco-Friendly Product Every Week

 

CONCLUSION

Acknowledgements

Praise for Revolution in a Bottle and Tom Szaky

“There are lots of great companies committed to a better world, and we need many more. Tom Szaky’s TerraCycle is doing more than selling good green products; it is changing how manufacturers, retailers, and consumers treat their waste. His persistence and courage in overcoming a huge challenge from Miracle Grow reminded me of Ben & Jerry’s similar struggle with Häagen Dazs. Read this book. I’m glad I did.”

—Ben Cohen, founder, Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream

 

“Warning, reading this book will cause you to quit everything to become an eco-entrepreneur! If you want to feel hopeful about our planet, and our ability to solve the ecological mess we’ve created, then stop everything and read this inspiring book. Tom Szaky represents the kind of optimistic yet pragmatic ingenuity that can turn this ship around. His quest to turn waste into profits is not only clever and rewarding, but his positive, can-do spirit is delightfully contagious.”

—Gary Hirshberg, president and CE-Yo, Stonyfield Farm

 

“Like TerraCycle, The Body Shop started in a small corner of a little town with a big idea that defined our mission and fueled the company’s path to success and growth. Tom Szaky’s big idea, capitalizing on wasted waste, is not only a formula for good business, it is also favorably changing the way individuals, manufacturers, and retailers participate in the unfortunate chain of nonrecyclable packaging.”

—Gordon Roddick, cofounder and former CEO, The Body Shop International

 

“Ecopreneurs are still a rare species today. Revolution in a Bottle will motivate and educate any reader on how to become one. Ecopreneurs, like Tom Szaky, will revolutionize and save the economy and planet’s future through their leadership. It is desperately needed for planetary restoration.”

—Horst Rechelbacher, founder, Aveda

 

“In a time when we are facing both an economic and ecological crisis, this book is a breath of fresh air. Tom Szaky is smart and inspiring and his work is redefining how to do business in the climate era.”

—Tzeporah Bermanm, cofounder, ForestEthics and PowerUP Canada

“As Chief Environmental Officer for Chicago, I work to resolve a myriad of environmental challenges. Clearly these challenges can’t be solved by government alone. We need leadership from businesses, too, and Tom Szaky and TerraCycle are doing just that. Revolution in a Bottle is an inspiring guide to how consumers who care about a better world can partner with private companies to address a problem before it becomes a burden to the public.”

—Sadhu Johnston, Chief Environmental Officer, City of Chicago

 

“Tom Szaky is the Horatio Alger for the green economy, turning other people’s rags into socially responsible riches. His exhilarating story offers inspiration and hope for next-gen capitalism by demonstrating the power of an idea whose time has come—that waste is a profitable thing to mind.”

—Joel Makower, executive editor, GreenBiz.com, and author, Strategies for the Green Economy

 

“Tom Szaky is one of the brightest lights in the socially responsible business community. With TerraCycle’s big vision and unique services, Tom has found ways to partner with some of the world’s largest retailers and brands and shows great imagination into how to grow a great company using other people’s trash.”

—Joshua Mailman, cofounder, Social Venture Network, philanthropist and investor

 

“Not even in my wildest dreams could I imagine that in the center of capitalism and waste, America, an immigrant entrepreneur would flourish taking waste as a business model from idea to reality. Unleash ten Toms around the world, and any sagging economy will be crunching out quality at competitive prices and responding to basic needs.”

—Gunter Pauli, founder and executive director, Zero Emissions Research Initiative, Geneva, and author of Upcycling

 

“Tom Szaky’s entertaining tale of worm poop and financial adventure is a part of the greatest story now being told, the necessary reconciliation of economy and ecology. If we can learn, as TerraCycle has, to redefine waste as a resource, our capitalist system can reroot itself in nature, transforming problems into opportunities.”

—James Gollin, chair, Rainforest Action Network

PORTFOLIO

REVOLUTION IN A BOTTLE

Tom Szaky was born in Hungary and moved to Canada at age eight. After a few early entrepreneurial adventures, Tom enrolled at Princeton University in New Jersey in 2001. During his freshman year, he formed TerraCycle and introduced his first of now many TerraCycle products, worm poop packaged in used soda bottles and sold as organic plant food. Since 2002, Tom has guided TerraCycle’s meteoric growth to over one hundred products in fifteen thousand big-box stores, with over 1 million Americans engaged in innovative waste collection brigades.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher
“TerraCycle is doing more than selling good green products; it is changing how manufacturers, retailers, and consumers treat their waste. Read this book. I’m glad I did.”
—Ben Cohen, cofounder, Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream

Meet the Author

Paul Hawken is an environmentalist, entrepreneur, journalist, and author. Starting at age 20, he dedicated his life to sustainability and changing the relationship between business and the environment. His practice has included starting and running ecological businesses, writing and teaching about the impact of commerce on living systems, and consulting with governments and corporations on economic development, industrial ecology, and environmental policy.

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