This is the fastest, densest interview I did so far, both in terms of information and topics we covered! Talking to Tom is like surfing through Wikipedia: for every topic, he has the facts and figures and a nice interesting story. Terra Cycle, Tom’s company, is a world leader for recycling of “non-recyclable products”, operating in 20 countries today, and what I found most fascinating about Tom and Terra Cycle is how imaginative they are with the purpose of reducing waste.
In our conversation we cover Terra Cycle’s purpose, its busineß model (getting everybody to the table and figuring out a way how everybody can benefit – simply great!), his personal path to being a social entrepreneur and why the ultimate answer to waste is not Terra Cycle, but something else… 😉
In this episode:
- How Terra cycle started from making compost from worm poop and developed into multinational company today that recycles the un-recyclable
- Terra cycles busineß model: I would call it a “multi-stakeholder benefit approach” – very interesting!
- The story about DM Drogeriemarkt and Terra Cycle’s Aerosol collection (including Germany’s last company building metal bicycles!)
- Their first packaging using recycled ocean plastic – including Procter & Gamble as well as a bunch of NGOs…!
- The key to innovation: Go back one step first and understand where the problem is coming from!
- “… and then don’t make the steps to big!”
- The key to success with busineß partners: take their perspective.
- Tom’s personal path to Terra cycle: his early idea of a busineß built completely around purpose
- Why he loves entrepreneurship
- The importance of focusing on your core: e.g. as a garbage company, recycling soda bottles as packaging material because you have no money to pay the package for your worm poop…;-)
- The three things you should be willing to face if you want to be an entrepreneur
Advice to people figuring out their own path:
- Finding a job you love: by finding something you’re passionate about first.
- The importance of purpose in what you do – for you personally, not for anybody else!
Worklife and personal development:
- Efficient emails and meetings
- The importance of free time for personal development
- The greatneß of building with your hands
- Family and work life
Tom and Terra Cycle:
- Homepage: http://www.terracycle.com/en-US/
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/terracycle/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TerraCycle/?fref=ts
- Book: “Natural Capitalism” – Amory Lovins, Hunter Lovins, Paul Hawken. Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Natural-Capitalism-Creating-Industrial-Revolution/dp/0316353000
Tom’s early day role models:
- Ben and Jerry
- Seth Goldman
- Gary Hirschberg