The BP oil spill has nothing on the hundreds of miles of garbage floating in the Atlantic Ocean, and its bigger sibling, the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a plastic-soup in the Pacific Ocean estimated to span the size of the continental U.S. Our oceans are our landfills, a fact that nags at me with every take-out container and other piece of trash I dispose of in my kitchen. I'm just one person making all this trash, and my internal-dialogue now sounds like the hitchhiker woman in Five Easy Pieces: "Pretty soon there won't be room for anyone!"
I admit that these three horesemen of the enviornmental apocolypse have me seriously considering the possibility of reincarnation. To hell with future generations, what if we are forced to join them, in the mess that we're creating? Enter the eco-capitalists, please.
Garbage Moguls, a show airing tonight on the National Geographic Channel, follows Tom Szaky, the 28-year-old Princeton University drop-out and founding CEO of TerraCycle, a New Jersey-based company that reincarnates trash into incredibly cool stuff, from messenger bags to kites to lunch boxes and picture frames. Albe Zakes, Tom's right-hand man and one of the stars of the show that takes you inside TerraCycle as it tries to win-over big corporate clients, sums it up in a press release:
With shows like Jersey Shore and The Real Housewives of New Jersey as popular as they are, it seems it was only a matter of time before a New Jersey TV show about ACTUAL trash got made.
On Saturday August 21st, National Geographic will air three all-new episodes of Garbage Moguls, an inside look at the zany way TerraCycle, "the coolest little start-up in America" (Inc. magazine), develops products made completely out of trash.
Drama rears its tense head as TerraCycle's team has two weeks to create an entire line of pet products for Pedigree by making leashes, collars, and pet clothes out of dog food bags. In another episode on tonight, Tom pitches Home Depot a garbage can made of chip wrappers, and in the third also on tonight, the design team has to create a suit jacket made of Target shopping bags and an entire line of new products. All this reality show goodness jump starts the catchphrase, "Why buy new?" If TerraCycle and more companies like it take hold of the mainstream, we won't have to.
There's a viewing party tonight on Twitter. Just follow @TerraCycle and use #garbagemoguls to interact with the TerraCycle team. Follow it up with trivia questions on the TerraCycle Facebook fan page, to enter to win cool TerraCycle prizes.
While these eco-capitalists are pouring their blood, sweat, and presumably some tears into the next great industrial revolution, Colin Beavan has a handy list of tips on how you and I can create less trash, meaning less fights over whose turn it is to take it out. Colin and his wife Michelle Conlin, busy parents, spent a year living "no-impact." They drastically reduced their carbon footprint and continue to incorproate these strategies into their hectic New York lifestyle.
Garbage Moguls premiers tonight 8-11 PM ET/PT. For clips and more info, check out the National Geographic Channel. And for more on living no-impact and greening your life, check out the No Impact Project.
Follow Andrea Chalupa on Twitter: www.twitter.com/AndreaChalupa