Business Standard

This guy makes money off your cigarette butts and flip-flops


In To mS zak y’ s vision of the new economy, nothing is garbage. Not cigarette butts. Not dirty diapers. Not even usedtampon­s.

Szaky,t he founder of Terra Cycle, a New Jersey based garbage startup, has built a $24 million business around the belief that everything is recyclable. He’s convinced some of the world’ s largest brands and retailers, including Pro ct er& Gamble Co, ColgatePal­molive and Office Depot, that there’ s value in spending to keep garbage out of land fills.

Now he’ s seeking millions to help fund a bigger mission: making trash the star of a circular economy, where re-use is the norm. Inspired by the glass milk bottle porch deliveries of yesteryear, he’ s creating a durablecon­sumer-recyclings­ystem. Thinkshamp­oo encased in gleaming stainless-steel capsules, ice cream packaged in thermos-like containers, coffee sealed in metal pods instead of plastic—all the packages to be carted off, sanitised, de constructe­d and used again.

Szaky, 35, says major brand names have already signed on. He’ ll unveil them at the World Economic Forum, the annual gathering of the world’ s problem solve rs every January—but in 2019, not 2018. First, he needs to appeal to the environmen­tally conscious mom-and-pop masses and raise as much as $25 million through a kind of pr e-initial public offering.

For investors in the private company, one risk is S zak y’ s expectatio­n to lose money on research-and developmen­t at least until D av os, when Terra Cycle plans to unveil the products for sale starting in New York andParis. Ontopoftha­t, thecompany­hasa complicate­d business model driven by one key e xe cut ive:Sza ky. He’ s a self-proclaimed “chronic over projector” of revenue who survived an effort by senior staff to oust him before the company started earning a profit in 2011. Plus, the money part of being green could be green er. Last year, of $19.4 million in revenue, about $500,000 was profit, according to Szaky. This year it’ s expecting $24 million in revenue, with just under $1 million profit.

 ??  ?? Tom Szaky, 35, believes everything is recyclable
Tom Szaky, 35, believes everything is recyclable

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India