Upcycling in the Spotlight: Terra Cycle Gets a Reality Show

upcycling photo

Pivot TV’s new reality show about converting waste materials into new better quality stuff, is changing the definition of trash TV. The new half hour comedy show, “Human Resources,” premiers August 8. It’s based on the eccentric staff at New Jersey upcycling company Terra Cycle.

The world of reality TV has few, if any, boundaries. The era of weird people’s life on camera has included such Emmy worthy programs as “Vanilla Ice Goes Amish” and “What Would Ryan Lochte Do?” And then there was the ever twisted reality show “The Swan,” which took women deemed “unattractive” and gave them extreme plastic surgery-laden makeovers. But that’s not quite the flow for “Human Resources.”

According to Terra Cycle CEO Tom Szaky, it’s all about eliminating the concept of waste by making things that were formerly unrecyclable, recyclable. They reuse, upcycle, and even recycle nearly everything that you could imagine. It’s a nutty crew in a nutty workspace with daily lunch yoga, rain dances on the front lawn, superhero sock day, and vegan lunches.

But most importantly, the show is shining a light on a really cool company whose mission is to create waste collection programs called Brigades for things that are traditionally difficult to recycle. The waste is transformed into brand new products from recycled park benches to upcycled backpacks.

Terra Cycle is trying to fix a big problem, considering that 90 percent of the stuff we buy will be in the dump within the year. But by changing our perspective, nothing needs to be trash because one system’s trash is another system’s food–just like in nature. Either way, it’s certainly an upgrade from “My Big Fat Obnoxious Fiancé”, “I Cloned My Pet”, or “Living Lohan.”

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Image: Sabrina Dalman