Smeal welcomes TerraCycle CEO as keynote speaker on April 18

Tom Szaky, founder and CEO of TerraCycle and author of "Revolution in a Bottle: How TerraCycle is Redefining Green Business," will be a featured speaker April 18 during Penn State’s Earth Days. TerraCycle collects trash and turns it into reusable items.

Szaky was born in Budapest, Hungary, in 1982. He and his family emigrated as political refugees, and Szaky headed to the United States to attend Princeton University in 2001. While at Princeton, as a 19-year-old freshman, he started his first venture with the intent to eliminate waste. Originally, he produced an organic fertilizer using worm excrement, which he bottled and sold.

Currently, his company TerraCycle is creating systems for previously non-recyclable or hard-to-recycle items such as candy wrappers, yogurt cups and cigarette butts that usually would end up in a landfill.

Currently, his company TerraCycle is creating systems for previously non-recyclable or hard-to-recycle items such as candy wrappers, yogurt cups and cigarette butts that usually would end up in a landfill. These items are now used in making messenger bags, pallets and more items available at major retailers including The Home Depot, Walmart, RadioShack, Best Buy, Toys 'R Us, Whole Foods Market, OfficeMax, Petco, Urban Outfitters and Target.

Today, TerraCycle partners with major consumer goods manufacturers such as Kraft Foods, Frito-Lay, Mars, Kashi, Kimberly-Clark, SC Johnson, Nestle, L’Oreal and many more to run a comprehensive network of individuals, schools and organizations who get paid to help collect non-recyclable packaging. More than 70,000 locations and 22 million participants called Brigades help TerraCycle to collect their trash and save it from the landfill. More than 2 billion pieces of pre- and post- consumer packaging have been collected, and more than 2 million dollars have been donated to schools and non-profits.

More than 2 billion pieces of pre- and post- consumer packaging have been collected, and more than 2 million dollars have been donated to schools and non-profits.

Inc. Magazine’s annual ranking of the fastest growing private companies in America listed TerraCycle in the top 200 in 2010, moving from the 288th spot, and it was also listed in the top 10 consumer goods companies. In 2011, TerraCycle ranked in the top 50 consumer goods companies and at No. 928 on the Inc. 5000 list.

Currently at Penn State, there are 10 Green Teams with TerraCycle Brigades. Green Teams are groups of faculty, staff and students who volunteer to take specific actions to help their units operate in efficient, innovative and healthy ways by “greening” their workspaces.

Currently at Penn State, there are 10 Green Teams with TerraCycle Brigades. Green Teams are groups of faculty, staff and students who volunteer to take specific actions to help their units operate in efficient, innovative and healthy ways by “greening” their workspaces.

Szaky’s lecture is co-sponsored by the Smeal College of Business and Penn State's Sustainability Institute and will be 6:00 to 7:00 p.m. April 18, in 105 Forum Building. Visit the Earth Day site for a full schedule of events.

For more information about sustainability at Penn State, visit www.sustainability.psu.eduFacebookTwitter or YouTube.

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Last Updated September 10, 2013