Ted Manziaris’ undeniable entrepreneurial spirit showed from the first steps of his career when he tried all kinds of professions with success from being a hot-dog vendor to a real estate agent. However, it wasn’t until Turtle Island Recycling, when his spirit really thrived.
Today, Ted Manziaris and Louis Anagnostakos (his partner) run one of the coolest companies in Toronto, as they are helping the community and environment and at the same time making a profit.
They started in the 90’s before “green business” was chic, using Manziaris’ family station wagon and a 10-foot by 10-foot room to collect garbage throughout Toronto. Back then, recycling wasn’t the big business it is today and the two young Greek-Canadian founders of Turtle Island Recycling were struggling.
Their luck changed in one night when Manziaris’ phone rang. It was a call from Maple Leafs Arena that wanted Manziaris to go and clean the stadium after a concert and do it in one night. Manziaris went and worked non-stopped overnight to clean the stadium. This resulted in a contract that kept the company open and made it successful.
Today, Turtle Island Recycling employs six hundred people and offers all kinds of recycling services for all types of waste. Ted and his partner are still working hard and plan to grow the company internationally. Who knows, we may even see Turtle Island in Greece as Manziaris notes in his interview with Greek Reporter.
When Ted is not at work he likes to offer back to the community. The last project his company funded was the Greek Retrospective, a three day festival with free admission that brought Greek cinema to Toronto.
We met Ted Manziaris and talked to him about his business, the Greek community of Toronto, and the future of Turtle island recycling.
Where are you from?
I was born in Toronto.
What part of Greece does your family come from?
What did you study?
Environmental Studies at the University of Western Ontario
What was your work background before Turtle Island?
I was a student before Turtle Island.
How did you get involved with recycling at first?
Wanted to make an environmental difference in people’s lives
What was your family’s reaction to your venture?
My family thought I was crazy. They told me to find a real job. After all I went to university and should not be a garbage man.
What was the hardest part of creating your own company?
The hardest part of creating our company was with no money.
How many employees do you have?
How did Turtle Island become this big successful company? What was the turning point?
We had tunnel vision and focused on what needed to be done that’s why Turtle Island became successful. The turning point was when we started to believe in ourselves and our environmental causes.
Tell us a few things about the Greek community of Toronto?
The Greek community of Toronto consists of hard working, successful people.
What Greek organizations/projects you are involved/support?
We are involved in as much Greek causes as we can. Hellenic Hope, Hellenic Heritage.
Greece does not have many recycling companies or know-how. Would you be interested to start an operation there?
What are your future plans for Turtle Island?
Turtle Island’s future plans are to grow the company internationally.
What are your favorite hobbies?
My favorite hobbies consist of playing sports and charity work.
A video about Turtle Island recycling can be found below: