I was watching a show on Planet Green TV - a very good channel recently started by the Discovery Company- called Eco Tech. This particular episode was about how scientists are devising ways to ultimately reach zero waste by converting garbage into useful energy and products
One of the companies they were showcasing is a company called TerraCycle Inc. This company was started by Princeton students for a business plan competition, and as they won more and more business plan competitions and as retailers like Home Depot and Whole Foods started stocking their products, the company grew. The basic idea is to take garbage, feed it to worms, collect their poop, liquefy the poop, and sell the poop as fertilizer.
What is most unique about this company is that every aspect of the operations use recycled products. They collect used soda bottles from schools and other sources, strip the old packaging, put their liquefied worm poop into the used bottles and slap on their own packaging. The squirt heads for these bottles are extras from other companies, and the boxes used to ship their products are misprinted boxes that other companies would have thrown away.
They also make household cleaners from water, oils, and minerals, drain cleaners using microorganisms, and fire logs made from cardboard boxes, which are made of wax cardboard and are not degradable, taking up space in landfills.
According to the founder, Tom Szaky's blog, the company has recently started making office and school products, partnering with Office Max to sell these products: corn plastic pens, pencils made from old newspapers and paper made from coffee leaves and banana peels, among others.