Select Page

Tom Szaky

Home » Sideshifters » Szaky, Tom

Tom Szaky

CEO, TerraCycle and Loop


About the interview

  • Our love of disposability, waste and how we can solve our waste problem completely
  • How can we make objects more recycleable: challenges, attitudes and economics
  • Redesigning our products to last: philosopy and economics behind the Loop system
  • Encouraging recycling and reducing waste: roles of individuals, communities, governments and businesses
  • Acknowledging every person’s power to shape our future with their economic vote


About Tom

CEO, TerraCycle and Loop

  • CEO of TerraCycle, a recycling company specialising in difficult to recycle materials
  • Determined to eliminate all waste
  • Developed Loop, an innovative system based on refillable packaging
  • Convinced the world's top consumer goods brands like Procter & Gamble and Nestle to switch to the Loop system
  • Frequently in the headlines and sought after speaker after unveiling Loop at the 2019 World Economic Forum in Davos
If you could invite 1 person to a dinner party – who would it be and why?

If I really had to narrow it down to one person, I would say environmental entrepreneur Paul Hawken. He has been a pioneer for conscious and natural capitalism for 50 years.  

What motivates you? Makes you happy?

From a professional perspective, I like to solve big problems. I l like thinking about the “what ifs” and coming up with ways to answer them. Seeing things come to fruition that people have thought was either unlikely or difficult is very rewarding. 

What advice would you give your 10-year-old self?

Give it your all and if you fail, at least you learned while trying your hardest.   

If you could make 1 global change – what would it be?

I would try to reduce consumerism. Our urge to buy and own and buy goods that are easily disposable are the main reason we are in the global waste crisis we are in right now.  

What are your Top 3 achievements?

From a business perspective, I would say my top three achievements are: starting TerraCycle, pivoting the company to a new business model while it was successful with the current one, and launching our most recent division, Loop.  

What does sustainability mean for you?

Sustainability to me means trying to create more circular systems so that we can move from a linear model to something that can reduce the amount of waste in our landfills and waterways and the demands on our natural resources. 

What was the most important event/influence that changed your perspective?

When I was young, my family left communist Hungary and emigrated eventually to Canada. Seeing people throw out perfectly good TVs or other items was astonishing. In Hungary, we didn’t even have access to any of this and here, they were garbage. That’s when I became interested in waste.  

Calling all Sideshifters!

Know somebody who should share insights and effective solutions as one of our Sideshifters? Or want to add your own expertise?