Terracycle, the company made famous for its gardening products made from “worm poop” and packaged in previously used soda bottles, has decided to take a radical shift in their business model, merging with Scotts Miracle-Gro, and will be producing a mostly synthetic line of plant food made from a petroleum based formulation, citing the under utilization of it in automobiles leading to a plentiful “waste” stream of unused source.
Asked why they chose to do this, the characteristically loquacious CEO, Tom Szaky, initially had no comment. But with some prodding, he had this to say:
In line with our focus on being distributed in big box stores, we were tired of fighting off the multiple lawsuits from Scotts, and thought, why not make money from working with them rather than spending it against them?
In a not entirely unexpected answer, Szaky revealed that their worm based compost production was being heavily effected by WUSS (Worm Under Supply Syndrome, where the changing climate has been said to drastically reduce worm populations) and that their bottle and wrapper collection “brigades” were a victim of their own success.
“People were too good at collecting them, we’d need a warehouse the size of the entire city of our home base of Trenton, New Jersey to fit them all. We asked, and though the residents of the city itself were more then happy to relocate, Princeton and other neighboring cities weren’t too pleased with that idea,” shared Szaky.
As part of the agreement with Miracle-Gro, they are painting over their constantly revised graffiti art covered factory with the trademark green and yellow Miracle-Gro colors. and staff will have to wear color coordinated uniforms in the factory.
The Miracle-Gro site has already undergone a conversion to reflect their merger, with stylish, alternative minded young people pictured, enjoying their chemically enhanced produce.
It’s a sad day when the poster child for green business does such a turnabout. Ironic that it coincides with the release of Revolution in a Bottle, Szaky’s new book. What does this say for the viability of green businesses overall? Your comments are welcome below.
Paul Smith is a sustainable business innovator, the founder of GreenSmith Consulting, and has an MBA in Sustainable Management from Presidio School of Management in San Francisco. He creates interest in, conversations around, and business for green (and greening) companies, via social media. Who he has and wants to work with includes consumer, media, clean tech, NGOs, social ventures, and museums.