Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Wal-Mart of garbage

It all started in 2001 when two Princeton University students set out to change the way people do business. Inspired by a box of worms, these students had a dream: a company could be financially successful while being ecologically and socially responsible.

Co-founders Tom Szaky and Jon Beyer were determined to turn the worm box concept into a real-life, commercially viable process. That summer, they developed prototype equipment and proved their concept was feasible by reprocessing solid waste from dining halls at Princeton University.

The emerging concept of Eco-Capitalism holds that organizations must be accountable for their performance in the consumption and production of natural capital, an economic term for the goods and services available from nature. Such goods and services include the resources we use in conducting manufacturing and commerce, both nonrenewable (oil, coal, metal ore, etc.) and renewable (forests, fisheries, grasslands, etc.). In an eco-capitalist manufacturing model, garbage is used as the raw material. The material is processed by a sustainable factory and is turned into a product that can be re-used again as a raw material.

Traditional capitalistic business practices and public policies have typically ignored the value of natural capital. In a standard capitalist manufacturing model, raw material is procured, often with a serious environmental impact. The material is processed by a factory and is turned into a product that often ends up as garbage.

With a brilliant business model built around recycling - shipping free junk in by the truckload, then spinning it into gold TerraCycle will definitely go big.

Read the article "Garbage mogul makes millions from trash" on CNN Money.

Visit TerraCycle to learn more about how they do it.

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