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Terracycle Quits Worm Poop Business, Merges with Miracle Gro

| Wednesday April 1st, 2009 | 16 Comments

Tom%20Szaky%20Terracycle.jpegTerracycle, 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.


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  • http://ecoworldly.com Gavin Hudson

    nice one. ;)

  • Anonymous

    Almost got me with this one. Good job :)

  • http://www.greensmithconsulting.com Paul Smith

    I’ve been in touch with their publicist Albe Zakes who said that by 9:30a their time, they’d gotten 3 phone calls and 4 concerned emails. I thought I’d filled it with enough BS to be sniffed out. Oops! As I said to Albe, any publicity is good publicity.

  • http://victoria-e.com/ Victoria Everman

    Haha, April Fool’s :P

  • http://mikesowden.org/feveredmutterings Mikeachim

    I think this is appalling. I’m immediately petitioning my local member of Parliament for….

  • Bonita Ford

    I’m sad to hear that. I wish grassroots locally based businesses could survive and thrive while staying grassroots and local.

  • Bonita Ford

    Ah! You totally had me. I thought “No, this can’t be an April fool’s thing. He wouldn’t post that… Would he?” :)
    I can sleep peacefully tonight believing again in the integrity of grassroots and local!

  • Mel

    Nice! It seems *almsot* real until it got to the matching uniforms in the factory part. Good one!

  • http://www.alittlegreenereveryday.com rshreeves

    Considering the fact that I have hundreds of Capri Sun pouches from my local school sitting in my dining room waiting to be sent to Terracycle, this is pretty funny.
    I gave it a mention on Mother Nature Network today:

  • http://www.greensmithconsulting.com Paul Smith

    Well that was fun! Sorry if I caused any big concern with anybody. But in finding out the truth, and having had the possibility of a beloved company switching course in such a way, I imagine you’re even more glad it’s still alive and kicking.
    Back in the real world, check out their latest line, vinyl record and circuit board based goodies! http://www.terracycle.net/press/circuit_vinyl_release.html

    • JF

      (i don’t usually start conversations like this – i’m a polite Canadian :) ):

      YOU BASTARD!!! i’ve been a TerraCycle fan since its inception! and to read this article dated “2009” totally threw me for a loop! i only figured it out halfway down the comments! what a cruel joke!

      but most importantly — how JOLTING to see the possibility of this actually happening – to TerraCycle or other green/social businesses. it’s now 2014 and i’ve just watched “Wolf of Wall Street” (though it may look totally unrelated)… with our cultural wealth glorification and addiction, this scenario is not far from possibility. “the supper rich are our cultural gods [http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/19/opinion/sunday/for-the-love-of-money.html?_r=0].” thank god for TerraCycles and AcumeFunds of the world to throw that in the face of all things meaningless…

      and thanks Paul for jolting us into a darker possibility, that makes the light in us (i hope) shine fiercely brighter!


  • Bob

    is there any way we can receive wormpoop orchid plant food liquid form any where?
    we have used this product for five years now and is or was the best ever,sure would like to know where or if we can purchase this product in Canada. Thanks

  • Bob

    is there any way we can receive wormpoop orchid plant food liquid form any where?
    we have used this product for five years now and is or was the best ever,sure would like to know where or if we can purchase this product in Canada. Thanks

  • http://www.security-wire.com/ Remove Spyware

    April Fool:P

  • Pingback: TerraCycle YAY and a NEW research venture! « Recycling in America()

  • Jvcardin

    I too would like to know where we can purchase wormpoop orchid plant food. I have used it with much success.  Can you help me??


  • MannyJudge

    I always wondered what happened to them! I ended up growing my own redworms and now have thousands of pounds of vermicompost so dont need them but still, good to know what happened..