WSJ: From Dorm Room to Wal-Mart

David A. Price at the WSJ reviews the autobiography of Terracycle founder Tom Szaky. He is a clear favorite in social entrepreneurship circles and it looks like he is a guy worth getting to know. Pretty interesting stuff. From the review:

One of the more colorful of these is Tom Szaky, the 27-year-old co-founder and chief executive of Trenton, N.J.-based TerraCycle. At $8 million in revenue in 2008 — on sales of household items like bathroom cleaners, notebooks and plant food — his company is minuscule by the standards of the consumer-products industry. Nonetheless, TerraCycle’s story should get many an executive’s mental gears turning. It’s not every dorm-room operation that grows to the point of selling its products through Wal-Mart, Home Depot and Target. Rarer still is the company that makes its products entirely from waste: reused plastic bottles, empty juice pouches and, not least, vermicompost fertilizer — also known as worm castings but better known as worm poop.

“A maverick with a big idea can go further in America than in any other country,” the Hungarian-born, Canadian-raised Mr. Szaky proclaims in “Revolution in a Bottle,” his account of TerraCycle’s story. His original big idea, with which he started TerraCycle at the end of his freshman year at Princeton, was to compete with landfills by feeding food waste to an army of worms. He took delivery on a million red wrigglers and set them to work on garbage that one of the university’s dining halls had allowed him to cart away.

BTW, are you surprised that Szaky attended Princeton?


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