A hippy with stretched-out T-shirts and festival bracelets around his wrist has world-saving ideas, but with the attitude characteristic of capitalists, not environmentalist hippies. On the cover of the newest Forbes Next is Tom Szaky, who has got the world’s biggest brands to stand by his waste recycling companies, Terra Cycle and Loop. In the magazine, the 15 most important Hungarian inventions of the past 30 years and the first Hungarian programmer, the now 84 years old János Szelezsán’s portrait can be found.
“At the end of May, five sperm whales were washed to the shore on Sicily’s beaches in just one week, almost exactly where I had been just two months prior,” writes Stella Bánlaki D. on forbes.hu. The cause of death? They consumed plastic waste; there could have been up to 40 kg in their bodies. For comparison, the human body collects 40 dkg microplastic in an entire lifetime according to the latest data.
Used paper coffee cups, bubble wrap, plastic peanut butter jars. Recycling seems to be the easiest thing — plastic in the yellow, paper in the blue trash can, — but all of the three mentioned above, for example, can only be thrown into the mixed household waste collector.
If we mess it up a little, it will be corrected at the waste processor. If we mess up big time? Then it is possible we will ruin the perfectly selected trash of all of our neighbours with something like our child’s diaper. The 99% selected trash will then end up in the non-recyclable category. But only very few people know this.
What normal people do is what professionals call well-meant recycling. The intention to recycle is there; only we do not do it right.
In the past six months, Facebook has been swarmed by posts about no-waste shops opening in Budapest, some Instagram celebrities campaigned for #nowaste, and people have started to sew their own shopping bags. The reality actually is that if this year, we throw 23% of our milk and fruit juice cartons — that is 15 out of the average 68 per person yearly — into the paper collector (rinsed and flattened), we will break a record. The EU average is currently 48%, while Germany’s is over 76%.
Forbes Next is always about smart people and their inventions and work that will hopefully better our future and wants to educate a little, too. It does the same this year, as one of the most emphasised pages, the last one, provides an opportunity for selective waste collecting. Selective waste collecting is the most important tool and opportunity in our world’s protection.
But the companies making the products have even greater responsibilities, and while they do not lack knowledge, they lack will. The big companies’ standing point and attitude will not change until legislation forces them to make better choices; as long as money dictates and not re-imagined capitalism. Or until someone comes up with a service, which provides economic benefits as well as environmental benefits. The next person to be on the cover of Forbes Next is just like that. Tom Szaky, the Hungarian who makes money out of handling trash right. Not only that, but he also tries to prevent us from making it.
Read more about Tom Szaky and his business HERE.
Szaky was born in Budapest but grew up in America. He told Forbes in Hungarian how he got the world’s biggest brands to stand by him and the Earth. Not with fire in his eyes, but with the realisation that capitalism can only be fought by capitalism.
The newest Forbes Next will collect the 15 most important Hungarian inventions of the past 30 years. They searched for concrete, innovative — and already existing — inventions, but this time, huge success was not the main filter, although a billion businesses are behind some of the advancements. As always, they will introduce contemporary Hungarian inventors, technological pioneers, such as 77Eletronika’s newest mini smart tool, which can make a complete blood count of a patient anywhere, at any time, in just seconds. They will talk about Medicontur making and developing lenses, considered to be top-quality worldwide, for 30 years in Zsámbék. They are market leaders in Hungary, and with the leadership of their doctor founder László Kontur, they are working on their biggest investment yet, while also heading for the finish line with the world’s first colourblindness correcting glasses.
They talked to Hungarians who can resolve the contradiction of biofuels, and they also repaid the Hungarian press’s debt by releasing a long profile about János Szelezsán. He was the first to work with computers in Hungary, he wrote the first information technology book and later took part in starting IT training at universities. Szelezsán is probably the first Hungarian to get peptic ulcer form programming as well. Alongside him, Forbes Next also talked to two leading programmers of today: Viktor Trón and Oszkár Józsa.
Featured image: Wikimedia Commons