Bard MBA in Sustainability presents

Sustainable Business Fridays: Recycling the Unrecycleable Podcast Series 

Tom Szaky, CEO, Terracycle 

Friday, November 18, 2016

Tom Szaky is the Founder and CEO of TerraCycle, Inc., one of the world’s leaders in eco-capitalism and the reuse of non-recyclable, pre and post-consumer waste. Born in Budapest, Hungary in 1982, Tom and his family emigrated as political refugees to the Netherlands and eventually to Toronto. At age 14 he started his first business, a Web design company, which employed three associates and earned its young proprietor a five-figure income and a number of Canadian national design awards. That early entrepreneurial success motivated Tom to engage in the start-up of three successful '' companies.

Tom came to the United States in 2001 when he entered Princeton University.  In 2002, he took a leave of absence to dedicate himself full-time to growing TerraCycle, which began as a two-man outfit in a dorm room in Princeton. In 2006, Inc. Magazine named TerraCycle, “The Coolest Little Start-Up in America” and that same year Tom was named the #1 CEO in America Under 30. In 2010, TerraCycle was named the #288 fastest growing privately held company in America by Inc. Magazine’s Annual listing, the Inc. 500. In 2013, Tom was named a Schwab Foundation Social Entrepreneur of the Year and a Forbes Magazine Future 30.

In 2007, Tom expanded his focus beyond organic waste to find ways to recycle any material commonly found in society. TerraCycle started working with major consumer packaged goods companies such as Kraft Foods, Proctor & Gamble, Colgate-Palmolive and L’Oreal to provide solutions for their non-recyclable post-consumer packaging and pre-consumer manufacturing waste. The collected materials are recycled into a wide variety of consumer products and industrial applications.

In 2009, TerraCycle took its successful recycling programs overseas and now operates in 20 countries, including the UK, Brazil, France, Germany, Sweden, Hungary, Canada, Mexico and Australia. To date, more than 5 billion pieces of pre- and post-consumer waste have been collected and almost $15 million has been donated to schools and non-profits.
In 2012, TerraCycle became the first company in history to conduct widespread collection and recycling of cigarette filters (butts), since that time TerraCycle has collected hundreds of millions of butts in 8 countries. TerraCycle also works with cities such as Paris, Los Angeles, Vancouver and New Orleans to collect cigarette butts.

In 2014, TerraCycle launched the innovative Zero Waste Box program, which allows individuals or groups to recycle virtually anything in their home or business, other than hazardous materials. TerraCycle works with major office supply chains and other B2C and B2B suppliers to distribute these boxes, which collectively help to recycle over 500 different waste streams.  


Sustainable Business Fridays (SBF) is the first podcast of its kind bringing together students in Bard College’s MBA in Sustainability Program with leaders in business, sustainability and social entrepreneurship. Twice monthly, these conversations go live via iTunes and Googleplay. Past SBF featured guests have included top sustainability leaders from Unilever, HSBC, GM, Campbell’s Soup, PepsiCo, Green Mountain Energy and many more.
Read a transcript of the podcast at

The Bard MBA in Sustainability is one of a select few graduate programs globally that fully integrates sustainability into a core business curriculum. In the Bard MBA every class is organized around one critical question: How can we build or transform our businesses so that they are in business to solve the pressing social and environmental problems of our time? Graduates of the Bard MBA are transforming existing companies, starting their own, and pioneering a new paradigm of doing business that meets human needs, protects and restores the Earth's systems, and treats all stakeholders with justice and respect. To learn more, visit

 SBF poster available for download below. 

Download: BardSBF_Fall2016.pdf

For more information, call 845-758-6822, e-mail [email protected],
or visit http://

Time: 7:00 am – 7:00 am EST/GMT-5

Location: Podcast