TerraCycle offers a range of earth-friendly fertilizers.
Gardeners like worms because they aerate soil, priming it for planting; as the critters burrow, they also leave behind nutrient-rich castings that fertilize the vegetation. So it's genius that concentrated, liquefied worm excrement is the secret ingredient in TerraCycle, a line of all-natural plant food. The odorless, spray-on fertilizers are formulated for a range of flowers and grasses; being organic, they are both kinder to the earth than chemical-based options and, according to some experts, are also more effective than their synthetic counterparts.
The idea for TerraCycle arose in 2001, when Tom Szaky, then a 19-year-old Princeton freshman, happened upon a friend's compost bin, which contained a mixture of soil, worms, and food waste. The friend used the resulting “worm poop” (aka, the broken-down organic matter and excrement) as fertilizer. It occurred to Szaky that eco-friendly consumers might be interested in the benefits of the resulting mixture, but probably wouldn't want the hassle and smell involved in making it. A business was born; Szaky and co-founder Jon Beyer dropped out of Princeton to focus on the venture. The duo successfully launched the outfit on their own, even turning down a $1 million prize after winning a business-plan contest funded by a venture capital firm because the investors wanted to work only with Szaky. Today, aside from food for a variety of plants, TerraCycle turns out everything from lawn fertilizer to deer repellent.