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Friday, March 18, 2011

Keynote by Tom Szaky, Founder and CEO of TerraCycle

REthinking Waste: Eco-Capitalism in Challenged Economic Times
March 22, 7pm, Reitz Union Grand Ballroom
Event will be streamed live online

Tom Szaky, co-founder and chief executive officer of TerraCycle, will talk about sustainable innovation and entrepreneurism at 7 p.m. March 22 in the University of Florida’s Reitz Student Union Grand Ballroom.

Szaky’s company specializes in repurposing nonrecyclable post-consumer waste.

Titled “Rethinking Waste: Eco-Capitalism in Challenged Economic Times,” his speech will explore opportunities that exist in today’s environment, how to see and capitalize on hidden assets, growing business in a constrained economy and the importance of a big idea. The event is free and open to the public.

Szaky started TerraCycle while he was a student at Princeton University after noticing the potential for organic waste to be converted to organic fertilizer through vermicomposting, the process of using worms to compost. Since then, the concept of “sponsored waste” has attracted more than 14 million people in 11 countries. Together they have diverted billions of pieces of waste that are upcycled or recycled into more than 1,500 products. In 2009 TerraCycle, named the most eco-friendly brand in America, opened its first retail location. Since then, the company has expanded internationally.

TerraCycle has received the Home Depot Environmental Stewardship Award twice, and Szaky was named the No. 1 CEO in America under 30 years old by Inc. Magazine. He was also featured in National Geographic Channel’s miniseries, “Garbage Moguls,” and is the author of the book, “Revolution in a Bottle: How TerraCycle is Redefining Green Business.”

In conjunction with Szaky’s visit, UF is participating in a number of TerraCycle collection brigades on campus. Gator Dining Services now hosts collections of energy bar wrappers, candy wrappers, and lunch kits at POD Market in the Reitz Student Union, Beaty Market, Little Hall Express and the Graham Oasis. The Office of Sustainability is now collecting for the Aveeno Beauty brigade, which collects any brand beauty and personal care tubes, Cheese Packaging brigade, and the Bear Naked bags and wrappers brigade.

Szaky’s speech is part of the UF Office of Sustainability’s REthink campaign, which encourages the campus community to consider waste in its many forms and the ways they can REduce, REuse, REcycle, REpurpose, REnew, REstore, and REspond in their own lives.

This event is sponsored by the UF Office of Sustainability, in partnership with the Dean of Students Office, the Center for Leadership and Service, the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, UF MBA and ACCENT.

In addition to Szaky’s keynote, the Office of Sustainability will also be hosting a screening of the documentary “Tapped” at 7 p.m. March 23 in Florida Gym Room 280. “Tapped” examines the path of turning a basic resource into a mass-produced commodity, and explores the role and impacts of the bottled water industry on public health, energy and climate change, pollution and social equity.

For more information on the event, REthink or these new recycling opportunities on campus, please visit Tom Szaky keynote and brigade.