Wednesday, August 6, 2008

An Interview with Our Friends at Recycline

What is Recycline all about?
Recycline is all about taking used materials and giving them a second life as eco-friendly and stylish products for the home. As the creator of Preserve brand products, we make home and personal care items that are practical and eco-chic. All of our products are made from 100% recycled materials and are recyclable. For our plastic products, we use #5 food-grade plastic which is BPA and phthalate free and able to be recycled over and over without adding in virgin plastic. By using #5, we know we are using high-quality materials for our products and keeping a less-often recycled plastic out of the waste stream. Check out Preserve products at your local Whole Foods Market, neighborhood co-op and even Target! As a socially and environmentally responsible business, we believe that the responsibility for our products doesn’t end when we ship them to stores. That’s why we have a postage-paid label on our website so our customers can mail back their used toothbrushes, razor handles and tongue cleaners to be remade into plastic lumber. Preserve Tableware (plates, cutlery and cups) and Kitchen products (colanders, food storage containers, mixing bowls and plastic cutting boards) can be recycled in any community that takes #5 plastic. Our only non-recyclable product is the Preserve Cutting Board made of a cool material called Paperstone. These boards are made from 100% post-consumer recycled paper and will last for decades.

What is the best part about your company?
I have to pick one part? I would have to say the Recycline employees. All of the people that work here really believe in the company’s mission of creatively transforming discarded materials into great home products. Where else would someone see a used yogurt cup and think “Hey, I bet that would make a great toothbrush.” By reusing shipping boxes, eliminating paper waste, biking to work or relying on natural light to illuminate work spaces, we all pitch in to make sure that we’re “walking the walk.” It doesn’t hurt that they’re fun too.

What's this we hear about your toothbrushes being made from yogurt cups?
It’s true! Recycline partners with Stonyfield Farm to recycle both the yogurt cups that are returned to them and the plastic left over from their production process. Rather than going to the landfill, the yogurt cups return to your home in the form of toothbrushes and razor handles. From one pound of plastic we can make 32 toothbrushes!
While Stonyfield is a great source of recycled plastic (and a key part of the Recycline story), we need more than yogurt cups to make all of our products. That’s why we launched our satellite recycling initiatives (SRIs) to effectively keep #5 plastic out of landfills and provide us with materials for our products. So far, we have successful programs running at the Park Slope Food Co-Op in Brooklyn and the Whole Foods Market in Reston, VA. The SRIs are a great way of completing the Preserve cycle: you eat a yogurt (or hummus or sour cream …), bring the container to your local SRI, we make it into a toothbrush, you use the toothbrush and when it’s time to replace it, we take it back to recycle into plastic lumber. In 2007, the Park Slope Food Coop in Brooklyn, NY collected 1,305 pounds of plastic which created 41,760 toothbrushes!

About how much plastic do you get each year from customers who mail back their used products through your recycling program?
Through our unique mailer-return system, customers can send us their used Preserve toothbrushes, razor handles and tongue scrapers using the postage-paid label on our website. About 5-10% of these products get sent back to us to be recycled into plastic lumber. Since all of our plastic products (except the toothbrushes) are recyclable in communities that accept #5 plastic, we hope that what isn’t getting sent to us is being recycled another way.

What message do you hope to send to your shoppers?
We want our shoppers to know that making eco-friendly choices doesn’t mean having to sacrifice style, quality or wallet-friendly prices. With all Preserve products, we aim to make something that is stylish, durable and that we would be proud to have in our homes. That’s why we use bright colors, fun designs and sturdy construction. As we say around here - Reduce, Recycle, Preserve.

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