Lucas Ho ’14
Developing New Products from Waste Streams at TerraCycle
The goal of my internship at TerraCycle was to develop new uses for waste and thus divert it from landfills. I discovered the material composition of various types of trash, researched those materials’ properties, and hatched ideas for alternative uses for the waste based upon those properties. Some of the ideas I contributed were to use the byproducts of silk manufacturing to nourish skin and to extract fiberglass from discarded tennis rackets to be used in medical casts. Additionally, I contacted companies like Adidas to see if they wanted to incorporate waste that TerraCycle has collected into their products. Also, TerraCycle wanted an external party to use the ~9400 floppy disks in its warehouse. I accomplished this goal by finding a painter who uses floppy disks as canvas and who gladly accepted the disks. I learned how to read and write patents, since much of my research involved traversing through patent databases. My knowledge of materials’ properties and applications grew by leaps and bounds. Also, my commitment to pursuing a career in sustainability was cemented, and I learned how people function and execute ideas in the corporate world.
TerraCycle, New Jersey
Ernel Simpson, TerraCycle