Tom's Open Road

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  • INTERVIEWED BY:

    Bon Voyagers

  • INTERVIEW LOCATION:

    Trenton, NJ

  • AIRED ON:

    Indie: The Bon Voyagers

TOM SZAKY

Co-Founder
Terracycle

“The challenging part is in the beginning; it's a leap of faith.”

INTERESTS:

Business Environment & Nature

THEMES DISCUSSED:

Confidence Education Failure Family Fear

FOUNDATION:

Upholding a cause I believe in

TAGS:

Canada, garbage, gardening, Hungry, plants, recycling, refugees

BIOGRAPHY:

  • His parents immigrated to Canada from Hungary and they always placed a huge emphasis on his education.
  • When he went to Princeton University, he encountered a problem: while in Canada, he could drink alcohol at 18, the legal age limit in the U.S. is 21.
  • To solve that problem, he and his friends took a weekend road trip up to Montreal.
  • While there, they hung out with some friends who were using worm poop (rather than chemical fertilizer) to grow plants in their basement.
  • He realized that you can get paid to take someone's garbage, and then, using the worms, you could turn that into a fertilizer you could sell.
  • After he returned to Princeton, he was obsessed by the idea; he drew out a business plan in his dorm room and decided to drop out to pursue it.
  • His parents had a hard time accepting that he was going to drop out of this amazing university, but his passion for the project reassured them.
  • Today, TerraCycle is a multi-million-dollar green company, and in 2006, Tom was named "#1 CEO Under 30."

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