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Research & Development Internship

About TerraCycle:

Operating in 24 countries, TerraCycle (terracycle.com) is the world leader in the recycling of generally non-recyclable waste, such as pens, toothbrushes, candy wrappers, juice pouches and cigarette butts. We create collection and solution systems for anything that would otherwise be sent to landfill or incineration. TerraCycle has over 50,000 voluntary collection locations in the US, including schools, offices, homes, community groups and other types of organizations. TerraCycle then turns collected waste into a wide variety of products and materials including plastic pallets, composite decking, and railroad ties. Major manufacturers contract with TerraCycle to subsidize the cost of collection and recycling their waste; for example Colgate pays us to collect and recycle toothbrushes, L’Oreal for beauty care products, Kraft for juice pouches and cheese packaging, etc. We have a full marketing and promotion team who engage collectors and promote the programs to generate recognition for the sponsoring brands. Our company is headquartered in Trenton NJ, 10 miles from Princeton and about an hour from New York and Philadelphia.

TerraCycle was founded in 2001 by Tom Szaky (then a 20-year-old Princeton University freshman) whose vision has become one of the fastest-growing green companies in the world. See http://www.shft.com/watching/the-big-shft-tom-szaky-terracycle-ceo/.

R&D Internship:

The Research & Development Internship will allow each intern to gain valuable experience in the following areas:

Materials Characterization:

  • DSC
  • FTIR

Polymer Processing:

  • Extrusion Blending
  • Profile extrusion
  • Injection Molding
  • Compression molding

Formulation Development:

  • Polymer Compatibility
  • Impact Modification
  • Reinforcement of Plastics

Physical Propety Testing of Plastics:

  • Mechanical Properties
  • Rheological Properties
  • Impact Properties

Regulatory Compliance:

  • FDA 21 CFR177
  • CPSIA-2008
  • USP 61 and 62

Process Development:

  • Stream Analysis
  • Material Analysis
  • Patent Research
  • Separation techniques
  • Process optimization:

Project Areas:

  • Market Research and Development
  • Woven and Non-woven fabrics
  • Cigarette Materials Recycling
  • E-Waste Recycling
  • Rubber Recycling


We seek adaptive and inquisitive individuals to thrive in our fast-paced environment. Successful candidates can handle multiple projects and deliver actionable intelligence efficiently. Applicants must be enrolled in school or have completed a degree in Chemistry, Physics, Chemical Engineering, Material Science or a related technical field. Preexisting background in polymers and polymer processing is a plus but not required. An understanding of recycling and end of life solutions is also a plus.

Nuts and Bolts:

TerraCycle offers an unpaid educational internship. We provide a bountiful lunch every day and ask that each intern attend regular interdepartmental lectures which cover all aspects of TerraCycle’s operations and business management in general, and regular intern events as well as company parties. Students receive significant executive direction and guidance, including career advice, if requested.

Last year, 65 interns participated, mostly college students, but also some graduate students. The environment is dynamic and highly charged. Due to our eco-focus, some schools, including Princeton University, provide a stipend or possible credit for their students to work at TerraCycle. Please check with your school if they can provide support.

The internship is located at our graffiti-covered headquarters in Trenton, NJ. The preferred duration of the internship is 8-10 weeks between the end of May and beginning of August. Interns will be asked to bring their own laptops to the office.

To apply, please send an email with a subject heading ‘R&D Summer Internship’, enclosed with a cover letter discussing why you want to work at TerraCycle, a resume, a list of 3 references, and a joke to Rick Zultner at: richard.zultner@terracycle.com.

Applications are due by April 15, 2014. Acceptances are offered on a rolling basis. Each department has only a limited number of positions, so early application is advised.