In launching TerraCycle's lines of liquid fertilizer, cleaners, repellents, etc., I realized something: Almost all products that are sold as liquid in a bottle -- from window cleaner to ant repellent -- are in fact extremely similar to bottled water. In most cases, the difference is only 1% to 2% of the contents. In other words, these products are typically 98% to 99% water -- no matter which brand you're looking at, eco-friendly or otherwise. This is true even with TerraCycle products.
Most people in the bottled water industry fear that we are nearing the end of selling bottled water as we know it today. If that is the case, why are we not trying to reinvent all of the other products that have the same issues as bottled water?
Personally, I think it's because consumers wouldn't want to buy concentrate and have to go to the trouble of diluting it. But suppose we sold bottles that are empty but for a little concentrate in them, and then all the consumers have to do is fill the bottle with tap water when they get home? Personally, I fear that the lack of weight and substance will deter consumers from buying the products in this form.
So what is the solution? Can anyone suggest a way to sell these products that the average consumer will accept?
Last updated: Jul 22, 2008
TOM SZAKY is the founder of TerraCycle, a New Jersey based company that makes fertilizer using worms and produces retail products from recycled goods. The firm was started while he was a student at Princeton University. Tom was named "The No. 1 CEO Under Thirty" by Inc. magazine in its July 2006 issue.