Environmentally conscious consumer products company Recycline Inc., Somerville, Mass., has proven to be a model for other companies that want to close the loop while educating consumers about recycling's positive effects.
Started in 1997 with a passion to educate and fulfill the demand side of recycling, Recycline began forming partnerships with manufacturers to recycle their products. Specifically, the company worked with Londonderry, N.H.-based Stonyfield Farm to turn plastic yogurt cups into Recycline's Preserve brand of toothbrushes.
"Stonyfield Farm is able to tell their customers that their packaging, which generally is considered less recyclable, has a new life as a toothbrush," says Eric Hudson, Recycline founder and president. "And we are able to say that our toothbrushes are made out of yogurt cups, which is tangible to consumers."
Since launching its first oral care product in 2000, Recycline has expanded its product line to include tongue cleaners, and extended its partnership to offer toothbrushes on more than 20 million yogurt cup lids as part of Stonyfield Farm's environmental education campaign. At press time, Recycline had diverted approximately 1 million yogurt cups from landfills, 700,000 of which have been recycled so far.
According to Hudson, all of Recycline's products and packaging are manufactured with recycled materials and are designed to be recyclable. The company also encourages recycling by providing consumers with postage-paid recycling mailers to return Recycline's used products and packaging back to the company so that they can be used in plastic lumber products, such as park benches, signs and porches.
The company also is becoming a waste solution provider. This month, Recycline Solutions, a new division designed to help other consumer product companies reduce and reuse manufacturing waste, will officially begin work. The division already has helped Toms of Maine, Kennebunk, change its deodorant canisters from using several unrecyclable materials to one completely recyclable material.
To support future efforts, the company also will offer SourceRecycled, a service to help consumers improve their products' recyclability and find recycled feedstock.
"We are not only recycling products ourselves but are helping other people to recycle their products," Hudson says.