Tom Szaky

Tom Szaky is founder and CEO of TerraCycle, a global leader in the collection and repurposing of complex waste streams. Tom started the company when he was 19 years old and has grown it to a $6M company today.

TerraCycle operates in 21 countries, working with some of the world’s largest brands, retailers and manufacturers to create national platforms to recycle products and packaging that currently go to landfill or incineration.

In May 2019, TerraCycle launched Loop, a circular reuse platform that enables consumers to purchase products in durable, reusable packaging. Loop is available in Paris, France, the UK, Canada, Japan and the 48 contiguous U.S. states, and is a key step in helping to end the epidemic of waste that is caused by 'single-use' consumption. In 2022, Loop will become available in Australia.

Tom and TerraCycle have received hundreds of social, environmental and business awards and recognition from a range of organizations including the United Nations, World Economic Forum, Schwab Foundation, Fortune Magazine, Time Magazine and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Tom is the author of four books, Revolution in a Bottle” (2009), Outsmart Waste” (2014), Make Garbage Great” (2015) and The Future of Packaging” (2019). Tom created, produced and starred in TerraCycle’s reality show, “Human Resources” which aired on Pivot from 2014-2016 and is syndicated in more than 20 foreign markets on Amazon and iTunes.

Tom’s LinkedIn Profile

WHAT YOU WILL DISCOVER FROM THIS EPISODE:

  • Why waste management is such a huge opportunity.
  • Tom’s business plan that changed it all.
  • Tom’s inspiring team mission.
  • Why Waste is Tom’s entrepreneurial playground.
  • How to build a great team.
  • What’s it like to present to the World Economic Forum (3 times!).
  • The real power of purpose at TerraCycle.
  • What to do if you don't know your purpose as a leader or a company.
  • Leading through the angst of the Pandemic.
  • 3 success strategies for every employee.
  • Negative cost marketing (Don’t miss this!).

HIGHLIGHTS:

Three phases of building a team:

  • Phase 1 concentrates on an individual and how hard they work.
  • Phase 2 is for delegating and letting go.
  • Phase 3 is for setting up the right systems to let everyone flourish.

QUOTES:

“Profit is an indication of business health, but not the reason to be in business.  There needs to be a more inspiring purpose.”

“Waste is the only commodity people are willing to get rid of but has a negative raw material cost... It’s also void of innovation.”

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