TerraCycle YAY and a NEW research venture!

March 14, 2011

Hello and happy Monday!

It’s great to be back. I actually missed work; go figure!

Check out this article from Packaging World, which discusses the refined approach by the judging committee of the Greener Package Awards. As you can see I am not listed as a judge, which is the result of a conflict of interests, resulting in me stepping down from the Committee. I wish the judges and contestants the best of luck; this year has the potential to be the best yet!

Ok, I received approval from Dr. Narayan to upload his presentation to my blog, but I want to include my notes taken during the workshop too, as the PPT is a little overwhelming. Therefore, expect the treatment on all things biodegradable in tomorrow’s post.

Also, I am still waiting to hear back from the President of AMUT in regard to uploading his presentation to my blog—hopefully we can schedule a conference call so I can pick his brain about recycling PET thermoform containers.

I have some pretty cool news!

The day before I left for vacation, I emailed the CEO of TerraCycle, introducing myself and my Clamshell Recycling Initiative. I have been following him and his company’s work for some time now, so I decided to finally take the networking plunge via the ambiguous social networking site, FaceBook. To my surprise, he replied that night, all the way from Amsterdam!

For those of you unfamiliar, TerraCycle is a company in Trenton, New Jersey, which basically provokes people to rethink what waste means. Starting as a “manufacturer” of worm poop (collect worm castings and package it for reuse as a fertilizer), TerraCycle literally creates value from waste. After introducing their line of worm poop products to Walmart, they quickly became a market favorite, rolling out product at most of the large and medium sized retailers. I just found this article however, which explains how this portion of the company merged with Scotts Miracle Grow, which seems a bit ironic. While I am still unsure of the whole story, after this venture was consumed by Scotts, TerraCycle made it into the world of packaging, “upcycling” products like CliffBar wrappers, CapriSun pouches, and others, into new and improved products, like purses, shirts, binders, etc. To learn more about their approach to waste and the economics of said approach, check out this great interview with TerraCycle CEO by BBMG’s Mitch Baranowski.

SOOOO anyway, within his email he introduced me to several of his colleagues, one of whom already contacted me about an exciting new brigade! I don’t want to spill the beans just yet, but know that I am very, very excited about the potential of working with this innovative new company!

And, I am about to embark on a NEW research project, which will be the second of a three part series looking to illuminate truths about sustainable packaging. The first, which you all are probably familiar with, is titled “Recycling Report: The Truth about Clamshell/Blister Recycling in America.” This Report generated a good deal of interest because it was a well-researched, honest, and thoughtful treatment of a rather complicated issue from the perceptive of a new-bee in the industry trying to understand why the packaging her family company manufactures is not “recycled,” as per the FTC Green Guide’s definition. Because this focused specifically on the end of life management of thermoform containers as a commentary on the nuanced nature of “sustainability” as it pertains to packaging, I now look to focus on how the material feedstock of a package dictates another dimension of a packages’ perceived sustainability. However, I don’t want to limit my research at all in the introductory phases, so at this point, anything is game. My approach will be of a similar construction insofar as I will be transparent about my biases and social imagination, trying to diffuse a rather complicated, but pertinent, issue.

Ok, I got to go. Look out for tomorrow’s post—it is going to be super technical!

One Response to “TerraCycle YAY and a NEW research venture!”

  1. Albe Zakes said

    Thanks for the great article and kind words! Tom could be the world’s most responsive CEO and is a great boss and leader!

    Just to clarify we never sold to Miracle Gro. That article was actually an April Fools joke from a blogger, Paul Smith, with whom we work closely!


    TC HQ

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