Tom Szaky is the Founder and CEO of TerraCycle, Inc., a company whose purpose is to eliminate the idea of waste by rendering products and packaging that are non-recyclable recyclable. This is accomplished by running national collection and solution programs for everything from chip bags to used cigarette butts. TerraCycle currently in over 21 countries collecting and either reusing, upcycling or recycling billions of pieces of waste per year. Inc. Magazine named TerraCycle, "The Coolest Little Start-Up in America!" That same year Tom was named the "#1 CEO in America Under 30", in 2007 Tom was named a Top Innovator by the Social Venture Network and in 2008 he was named top Brand Innovator by Brandpackaging Magazine.
Born in Budapest, Hungary in 1982, Tom emigrated with his family as political refugees from Hungary to Holland. In 1989 he and his family again emigrated from Holland to Canada. At age 14 he started his first business, a Web design company called Flyte Design, which earned a number of Canadian national design awards. Tom then engaged in the start-up of three small but successful 'dot.com' companies.
Tom came to the United States in 2001 when he matriculated as a Princeton University freshman. In 2002, he dropped out of college to dedicate himself full-time to starting TerraCycle, Inc., beginning as a two-man outfit in a dorm room in Princeton. Despite being on the verge of bankruptcy a year into starting the business, Tom turned down a million dollar grand prize from the Carrot Capital Business Plan because the investors wanted TerraCycle to become less focused on solving waste.
TerraCycle works with major companies ranging from Kraft Foods to CLIF BAR to sponsor the collection of waste which allows it to provide free shipping an a small donation for each piece of waste collected (typically $0.02). Through this effort TerraCycle has donated over $5 million dollars to schools and charities globally.
Today, after 100 to 20% per annum growth for 8 years TerraCycle employs over 110 associates with operations in 21 countries.
For more information or get involved in one of our Sponsored Waste programs, please visit: www.terracycle.net.