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Upcycling Gets Famous With New Reality Show Series


One might assume that handling trash every day for a living might be a smelly job. But for the crew of designers, nerds and Captain Planet-pushers at upcycling firm TerraCycle, trash is a profitable problem that keeps on giving.

On August 8, PivotTV viewers will get a sneak peak inside the world of TerraCycle’s upcycling empire when its original, unscripted docu-comedy series “Human Resources” kicks off for a 10-episode run.

"Human Resources" follows the wacky, fast-paced work environment of the TerraCylce team as they come up with solutions to eliminate the concept of waste. The mash-up of eclectic personalities run the gamut as they bend the rules of corporate America, perform rain dances in the middle of the work day, break for early-morning yoga in the conference room and share kale chips with their in-office pets.

With more than 120 employees in several cities around the world, Tom Szaky, CEO and founder of TerraCycle, encourages both mischief and antics among his lively staff of eco-geeks, scientists and the occasional apathetic employee.

There’s Albe Zakes, VP of Global Marketing and Communications, who worked his way up the recycled ladder as an intern eight years ago, labels himself as a “wears all hats” employees and is credited as a major reason why the company doesn’t spend money on advertising. Tiffany Threadgould serves as the Chief Deign Junkie who rocks themed costumes to work with her Pomeranian in tow. Tick Zultner is the scientist who provides backbone for the business, and Dean Innocenzi is the firm’s graphic designer and resident graffiti artist who drops beats while tagging TerraCycle’s headquarters.

Though TerraCycle HQ might resemble that of popular hit television series “The Office," the New Jersey-based company is much more than a mixed bag of do-gooders. Unequivocally, TerraCycle has been a world leader in collecting and repurposing non-recyclable, post-consumer waste for over a decade.

“TerraCycle is a remarkable and pioneering company, but it’s also a quirky workplace with its own unreasonable bosses, inscrutable co-workers, and often bizarre staff meetings… making it the perfect setting for a great TV show.  Amidst the fun of the office, the show offers great takeaway on the science behind their innovations,” said Belisa Balaban, executive vice president of Original Programming for PivotTV, in a press statement.

In a recent article penned by Szaky on TreeHugger, he writes:

“For those unfamiliar with TerraCycle’s business model, we collect waste that can’t typically be recycled by your local municipality, and then recycle or upcycle that material into useful products. You receive points for your collected waste, which can then be turned into monetary donations for the charity of your choice […].Human Resources viewers will be able to see that it’s possible to recycle almost anything, and the show will include PSAs and commercials to create awareness around proper recycling techniques. TerraCycle and RAA show people how to recycle more effectively, while Pivot TV provides the platform, the reach, and the ability to get this valuable information to millions of consumers.”

Stay tuned for the premiere on August 8 at 10:30 p.m. ET/7:30 p.m. PT. Episode one, Talkin’ Trash, follows the team as they get close to finalizing a deal for a coffee table book of DIY upcycling ideas but are still in need of a sample chapter. In preparation for a meeting with the publisher, Albe asks Dean to work on being more professional.

Image courtesy of TerraCycle Facebook 

Sherrell Dorsey headshotSherrell Dorsey

Sherrell Dorsey is a social impact storyteller, social entrepreneur and advocate for environmental, social and economic equity in underserved communities. Sherrell speaks and writes frequently on the topics of sustainability, technology, and digital inclusion.

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