Tuesday, July 31, 2007

a poop revolution

a few months ago i saw "big ideas for a small planet", a sundance channel show that featured terracycle. you may remember a previous post encouraging you to join the bottle brigade. i have a bad habit of bugging dianna with story ideas for morning edition. i have at least one a day. and i get salty when they don't end up on the air. terracycle seemed like the perfect NPR story. poop, worms, david and goliath, etc. and it just seemed so cool. so she decided that we would stop in trenton, nj our way to annie and vint's...

we stopped in philly for lunch, see the previous post. i was excited to "be the press" so i tried to park in this spot. it was awesome.
my enthusiasm for becoming a reporter for a day worried dianna. she repeatedly reminded me that she was the reporter and she was asking all the questions.
she asked me to be the official photographer (i think to keep me busy).
so now i am a photojournalist. be on the look out.

we arrived at terracycle and were welcomed by a office space filled with reused office equipment. i loved that they practice this zero foot-print concept in everything they do.
all of these vats, all of the office cubicles, all the computers, all of the everything you see is reused.

this is where they make the worm tea
that they sell

here is mr. tom szaky explaining his company and product to listeners worldwide

here is where the bottles from the bottle brigade are collected.
if you want to join, you should.

they like to have fun making the worm poop.
as if making worm poop wasn't fun enough, they do it to music

the tomato fertilizer. i want all of that!

tom is explaining the origins of the company and
how they are being sued by scotts (the makers of miracle grow)
they're basically a huge bully, but our little david is willing to fight goliath, even tho the stakes are super high and terracycle could end up bankrupt if the case goes to trial.

terracycle got most of its funding in the early days by entering and winning business-plan contests. the biggest purse that they ever won was $1 million, but they turned it down b/c the organizers didn't like the "garbage into worm poop" part of the idea.

i was not only the official photographer but also the driver.
we drove over to a landfill and greenhouse to see some of the science projects going on
and to meet jim, the official scientist.

the most advanced landfill in the eastern united states.
we're here to see terracycle's research at
rutgers university's ecocomplex

testing it to see if they can make the perfect blend for perfect plants.
and doing some comparisons

tom standing in front of his worm poop contraption. Garbage goes in that big barrel behind him, then runs up a conveyor belt into this gin.

the original pooperie, or worm gin. worms live in all these shelves, and poop comes out the bottom.
this contraption sent these princeton students back $20k

the poop makers -- or as jim calls them, "terracycle employees. non union."

dr. jim explaining why terracycle works better, and then showing us the difference. the one closest to dianna is the one with terracycle. the other one i think was grown in all scotts products or grown with no fertilizer. i can't remember, which is why i'm the official photographer, not journalist.
it is kinda hard to see the difference, but the one is super thick and green, and the other is flimsy and pathetic.

there is of course more to this story, but you are just going to have to listen to morning edition to hear the rest. i'll post a warning when its coming up. dianna takes forever on these things.


Scotts Sues Startup over Worm-Dropping Claims

Listen to this story... by

Morning Edition, September 4, 2007 · Fertilizer giant Scotts sues TerraCycle, a small company in New Jersey, for false advertising that sells fertilizers made from worm droppings. Farmers and gardeners have long used worm droppings but now they're sold by mass marketers alongside chemical fertilizers.

1 comment:

Becky Douglas said...

I must say this is a spectacular story! You two are QUITE the reporting team.
From a non-biased reader,
Becky Douglas
(Dianna's mom)