PHOTOS: Inside TerraCycle's Incredible 99% Recycled Office

terracycle office tour

Photo: Kim Bhasin, Business Insider

Many companies tout the importance of “living” their brands, but few ever accomplish it. They leave it up to the individuals to do it themselves, and do nothing to spur engagement.The folks at TerraCycle truly do live their brand.

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Nearly a decade ago, then-20-year-old Princeton freshman Tom Szeky started up a green business that made fertiliser out of worm refuse and packaged it in used bottles. Later on, he completely changed his company’s business model into primarily upcycling — re-using waste without breaking it down — items like toothbrushes into consumer products, then selling them to retailers like Target and Walmart.

Now, he’s gone global, and things are booming for Szeky’s creation. TerraCycle cracked the top 1000 in Inc Magazine’s annual Inc 5000 list of fastest growing privately-owned companies, had feature write-ups in numerous publications and even had its own 4-episode mini-series on National Geographic called Garbage Moguls.

Despite the drastic changes and huge growth, TerraCycle’s culture has remained nearly the same, thanks to the company leadership’s initiative to keep it that way, and employees that believe in what they’re doing.

There are few companies as unique as TerraCycle, but somehow its incredibly quirky office manages to embody the company’s culture perfectly.

The office was designed by TerraCycle’s Chief Design Junkie (yes, that’s her official title) Tiffany Threadgould, who explained to us that “it’s sensory overload. It’s a display of everything that we’re about. In design there’s something nice to be said about that.”

We took a trip down to TerraCycle’s Trenton, NJ headquarters to see what all the fuss was about.

We pull into TerraCycle's little corner of Trenton. It's already obvious that this isn't your everyday office environment

More proof that this isn't your typical office

Right as we walk in, we're greeted by a huge TerraCycle logo made entirely out of repurposed drink pouches

And the front desk, where Customer Support Rep KC Campbell sits

Hanging from the ceiling is a lamp made from old movie reels

The wall is laden with repurposed books, the table's made of Mercedes-Benz rims and the graffiti on the wall's actually peeled off of cinder blocks and re-pasted

There's all sorts of random stuff on the walls -- but this is just a preview of the sensory overload to come

Here's the full showroom. That dress on the right is made out of Honest Kids pouches and was once worn on stage at Carnegie Hall by a concert pianist

And there's PR Manager Stacey Cusack, who came from an ad agency to this crazy place

And in there are samples of all the products TerraCycle has made. Here's some of the worm refuse products that got everything started

And some current items, like these bags made out of CapriSun and Kool-Aid

Here are all of the products that TerraCycle has their logo on -- from M&M's to Huggies

This is one of their trial in-store collection programs, which allows consumers to drop off waste in front of retail stores

Now, we head into the main office area. If you haven't caught on, graffiti's going to be a big theme

We step in... and are instantly greeted by bottles. Lots and lots of bottles

Bottle-curtains surround this conference table made out of doors. Two of the doors have working doorbells, in case people aren't paying attention

A row of desks line this side of the office

The desks are separated by vinyl records, and P Diddy makes a cameo

Every employee has a Nerf gun at TerraCycle, and CEO Tom Szeky packs some serious firepower. Behold, the Stampede ECS

The executive team's Daniel Rosen and Chief Administrative Officer Richard Perl chat nearby

Szeky's little conference table sits on a couple barrels. Can't everyone hear everything they're saying in here? Those bottles aren't quite soundproof

Here's another little meeting room. Of course, there's graffiti

A close-up of one of the inside pieces of graffiti art

Look at that! Proof that they actually DO manage to do work in here

The chairs in this big space don't match because they're re-used

In the corner of the courtyard is the design building, and it's totally sprayed up too

The place is cluttered to the brim, and really has that artistic feel

We're met by Chief Design Junkie Tiffany Threadgould. This is her realm

They research and develop new products in here, making stuff out of all sorts of things like candy bar labels and bottles

Some of their most unique items are clothing, like this skirt made out of candy wrappers

This picnic table isn't painted wood -- it's recycled drink pouches

Threadgould shows us their plans to revamp the courtyard. There's going to be a TerraCycle logo visible on Google Maps

In the courtyard's current state, there's wall made out of wine bottles and decorated with bottlecaps. They plan to put a flower bed around it

The weekend before our tour, the whole courtyard was repainted by artists from all around the country as part of their 7th Annual Graffiti Jam

They ran out of wall space, so they put up some extra ones for the artists

Back inside the showroom, the business development team convenes over lunch. We'd love to stay and chat, but it's time to head back to Manhattan

Now see another amazing creative space ...

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