TerraCycle works to turn garbage into innovative art

TRENTON, N.J. (WPVI) -- Garbage really is everywhere, it can litter our streets and landscapes, and harm the environment.

But inside the colorful headquarters of Trenton-based recycling company TerraCycle, Founder and CEO Tom Szaky and his team are tackling this problem from every angle, including their own workspace.

"I think that you need to create a really dynamic work environment to be innovative. I mean in this office every detail is made from waste. It's incredibly fun and exciting and uplifting to be here," says Szaky.

Soda bottle partitions, conference room table made of doors, all these things set the tone. And don't be fooled, this is a global company working to spark change around the world by recycling some hard to recycle products.

"TerraCycle recycles some really out there things. Most recently we launched diaper recycling in Amsterdam, chewing gum recycling in Mexico City and even cigarette recycling in Trenton, but also 400 other major cities around the United States," Szaky says.

Those cigarette butts, cited as the single greatest source of ocean trash, are collected at TerraCycle bins. Organic parts are composted and the plastic compounds in the filter turned into everything from ashtrays, to park benches and shipping pallets.

At the BSB Gallery in Trenton, TerraCycle is focused on getting the message out that anything can be recycled or even upcycled into beautiful art or clothing by partnering with artists for a newly opened exhibit called "Scrapped."

"From a take on the birth of Venus made entirely from ocean plastic really raising the awareness that 25 percent of our waste ends up in our oceans. To an Abraham Lincoln made from cigarette butts," says Szaky.

Awareness of trash through art and creativity is just one part, and TerraCycle is focused on even bigger goals.

"We have a garbage crisis right now, and we have to clean it up, but we also have to stop creating more waste," Szaky says.

And TerraCycle's newest innovation to fight single-use waste is called "Loop."

"Loop is working with the biggest companies from Haagen Dazs in ice cream to Tide in laundry detergent and almost everyone in between, Coke and Pepsi and many others reimagine their products from being disposable to being durable," says Szaky.

The bin and specialized containers get shipped to and from the home, cleaned and refilled, in sort of a 21st century reboot of the milkman. Just one of the many innovations being worked on at TerraCycle in Trenton to help solve the problem of waste.

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