SZAKY COFOUNDED TerraCycle in 2002 with one of his Princeton roommates. With the company's growth has come a maturation. What started as little more than a collegiate lark has slowly evolved into a more serious enterprise, albeit one whose founder wears a uniform of a baseball cap and jeans and whose employees at the company headquarters in an inner-city area of Trenton never don a tie. As the business has added staff, Szaky has brought in people with a lot of experience at large corporations. His leadership style has also evolved, although Ellen Gaughran, TerraCycle's head of human resources, says one of the bigger challenges for the company's more seasoned executives is to keep Szaky focused. "Because of his entrepreneurial energy, he wants to do so much, and we have to rein him in," she says. "He wants to produce 25 new products next year. Well, it's almost physically impossible to do it. It's about harnessing his energy and passion, because he's got so much of it."
Szaky’s passion for changing the world through worm poop remains undiminished, and his approach to eco-capitalism continues to lure new people to TerraCycle. While he’s happy to talk about how green the company’s products are, he feels like he’s already making progress, because so many of his customers don’t know a thing about his philosophy: “People are buying it and don’t even realize how eco-friendly it is, because they’re buying it [based] on price and performance,” he says. “Isn’t that the best reason to buy it? It should just be made that way anyway, and then when people find out how green it is, it’s awesome.”