What happens to billions of drink packages, plastic bottles cookie wraps and similar consumer goods in the world? Despite all campaigns to reduce, reuse and recycle, the amount of municipal solid waste continues to rise. At the moment, the only option to control the growth of garbage mountains in a way that creates revenues seems to be burning for generation of energy.
However it is a pity to see that objects which have caused so much effort in design, materials and assembling, have such a short lifetime. Tom Szaky must have thought in a similar way when he started to collect garbage at American schools in order to produce new things out of them. Packages for cookies or fruit juice now become bags, purses or fashion goods. The peculiarity is that this kind of upcycling affects not only the materials, but also the original brand of the item: the proucer of the chips bags or sweets wraps. While before the companies have rather aimed to hide their name on the waste, now they do not bother that the upcycled products are sold next to the originals at the supermarket.
Tom's company TerraCycle pays a fixed amount for every piece of waste collected to the schools or non-profit organization which provide the raw material for his business. By this payment he finances non-profit projects and makes people aware of the true value of waste.