'Eco-Capitalist' Presentation Will Highlight Earth Week Activities At Ithaca College

ITHACA, NY — The cofounder and CEO of organic plant food maker TerraCycle — which has been called “the most eco-friendly company in America” — will give an Earth Week presentation at Ithaca College on Thursday, April 23. The talk by Tom Szaky, titled “TerraCycle: Revolution in a Bottle,” will be held at 7:00 p.m. in Textor 102. It is free and open to the public.

Szaky will also sign copies of his just-released book, “Revolution in a Bottle: From Worm Poop to a Garbage Empire That Is Redefining Green Business,” which will be available for sale at the event. The book tells the story of how Szaky, while a freshman at Princeton, collected dining hall garbage, fed it to worms, and turned the resulting waste products into liquefied plant food packaged in recycled soda bottles. Less than five years later, TerraCycle Plant Food is now available in every Wal-Mart, Home Depot and Whole Foods store in the country.

A 2006 cover story in “Inc.” magazine called TerraCycle “the coolest little start-up in America.” Szaky calls himself an “eco-capitalist” because his company is for-profit yet approaches every task from an eco-friendly perspective. In addition to plant food, TerraCycle’s products include garbage cans made from crushed computers and handbags made from recycled energy bar wrappers and juice pouches. The company’s business plan is simple: recycle stuff that people don’t value — or in many cases value negatively — into usable products.

Szaky’s presentation is the first in the new “Commit to Change” speaker series, funding for which was provided by a major grant awarded to the Ithaca College Environmental Studies Program by the HSBC in the Community (USA) Inc. Foundation.

The Ithaca College Environmental Society (I.C.E.S.) is sponsoring a number of additional Earth Week events, all of which are free and open to the public.

Monday, April 20

Environmental Film Screenings
10 a.m.–4 p.m., Clark Lounge, Egbert Hall

 Clean Energy Panel
5–7 p.m., Ithaca Falls Room, Egbert Hall

 Tuesday, April 21

Here’s To the Long Haul
7–9 p.m., Park Hall Auditorium
Cofounders Willie Dodson and Joe Overton, along with guest musicians and activists, make up the Appalachian string band/teaching team Here’s To the Long Haul. Their traditional arrangements celebrate the culture and life of the mountains while their original songs tell stories of everyday people standing up to the environmental harm being done by mountaintop coal mining.

 Wednesday, April 22

Environmental History Class Presentations
7–9 p.m., History Center of Tompkins County, 401 East State St.
Student teams in the History of American Environmental Thought class taught by assistant professor of history Michael Smith will present the results of their research projects on local environmental history.

 Thursday, April 23

CSA Fair
10 a.m.–3 p.m., Clark Lounge, Egbert Hall
Farms practicing Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) will offer summer shares to students, faculty and staff. CSAs are communities of individuals who pledge support to a farm operation so that the growers and consumers share the risks and benefits of food production.

 Sustainability Café: Sustainably Conscious Investing
Noon–1 p.m., Room 301, Park Center for Business and Sustainable Enterprise
Greg Pitts of Ecolibrium Financial Planning and Greg Garvan of Money with a Mission, both members of the First Affirmative Financial Network, will discuss the various components of social investing and how you can get involved.

 Vegetarian Teach-in
7:30–9 p.m., Taughannock Falls Meeting Room, Egbert Hall
Come to the vegetarian teach-in to experience some tasty and healthy food and a discussion by members of the famous Moosewood Restaurant and the Farm Sanctuary, an animal rehabilitation center located in Watkins Glen.

 Friday, April 24

“A Drop of Life”
7–11 p.m., Textor 101
Shalini Kantayya, one of the finalists on the reality show “On the Lot,” will screen and discuss her film “A Drop of Life.” Set in the near future, the film is the story of two women — a village teacher in rural India and an African American corporate executive—  whose disparate lives intersect when they are both confronted with lack of access to clean drinking water.

For more information on I.C.E.S. Earth Week events, contact Nathonn Bates at

Originally published in News Releases: 'Eco-Capitalist' Presentation Will Highlight Earth Week Activities At Ithaca College.

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