The Purpose of Business and the Circular Economy

Aug 9, 2021 10:10 AM ET
Article

by Tom Szaky, founder and CEO of TerraCycle 

In college, one of my professors taught a popular theory of economics that a company’s sole purpose is to deliver profit to shareholders. Since then I’ve found that, yes, of course you want a company to be profitable so it can continue to exist. But the purpose of business to me is what it does — what service it provides, what product it makes, and how it helps people, society, and the planet.

In the pursuit of purpose, I resolved to create businesses that put those things first. Twenty years later, I stand at the helm of companies that do just that. Today operating in 22 countries, TerraCycle® is known for creating first-of-its-kind recycling solutions for nearly everything the world would consider trash: empty writing utensils, plastic litter collected off beaches, even dirty diapers, cigarette butts, and used chewing gum.

Companies work with us to sponsor collection programs for their own products, as well as entire categories of waste, to bring solutions at no cost to customers. To fill in the gaps, the Zero Waste corner of our business allows anyone to recycle everything else through turnkey, pay-as-you-go solutions that can be used to reduce waste at home, the office, in public and community spaces, and at events.

Corporations, municipalities, small businesses, and individuals bring TerraCycle’s programs to life, while manufacturers use our collection infrastructure to source unique materials for new production, driving value through this story. So far this model has diverted nearly 8 billion pieces of traditionally non-recyclable material away from landfills and towards a new supply chain of recycled content.

Read Tom's full article that looks at the "Circular Economy" and check out a recent video of one of his talks all at - https://greenmoney.com/the-purpose-of-business-and-the-circular-economy

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