Reality shows are often classified as trashy TV. Now things have come full circle with a reality program focusing on–you guessed it–garbage. Garbage Moguls, premiering today on The National Geographic Channel, follows a team from “upcycling” start-up Terracycle as they take different waste products and figure out how to turn them into products that can be sold to retailers.
Terracycle, founded in 2001, got its start selling natural plant food made out of worm waste products. Now the company takes waste products of all stripes that can’t be recycled and upcycles them into backpacks, pencil cases, folders, and more. Earlier this month, Terracycle inked a deal with Mars, Inc. to recycle waste packaging from cell phone holders and laptop sleeves into messenger bags.
The first episode of Garbage Moguls features Oreo wrappers and Coca-Cola billboards transformed into kites and messenger bags that are ultimately sold to Wal-Mart and Office Max. As with every reality show, Garbage Moguls features a colorful cast of characters: CEO Tom, graphic designers (and sisters) Lea and Dara, Tiffany the product designer, Albe the PR guy, and Milton, the ex-con turned factory supervisor. The preview looks about as interesting as any other guilty pleasure reality show out there, but at least this one embraces its trashy roots.