Friday, October 27, 2006

Recycline-Stonyfield Farm Partnership Milks Resources to Benefit the Environment, Consumers and Each Other

The Company
Recycline, Inc.
681 Main St.
Waltham, MA 02451
Toll-free: [888] 354-7296
Phone: [781] 893-1032
Fax: [781] 893-1036

Founded: 1996
Employees: 5 full-time, 3 part-time, 1 student intern

Contact: Eric Hudson, President & CEO

The Business
Recycline provides high-quality, leading-edge recycled-content and recyclable consumer goods throughout the U.S., Canada and U.K. Its growing product line includes the Preserve® and Preserve Jr Toothbrushes; Preserve Tongue Cleaner; Preserve Razor Recyclable; Preserve Replacement Blades; Preserve Tableware; and Preserve Flavored Toothpicks.

Recently, the company introduced the Special Edition Stonyfield Farm Preserve Toothbrush, to celebrate the five-year anniversary of its recycling partnership with Stonyfield Farm, the world's largest organic yogurt maker and the No. 3 brand -- organic and otherwise -- in the U.S. And, just in time to meet holiday stocking-stuffer needs, there's Recycline's new Preserve Razor Triple.

The Buzz
Consumers and groups in the "green" community have embraced Recycline since its first of roughly 3.5 million Preserve toothbrushes hit a handful of natural-food stores 10 years ago. Since the company added razors to its product line in 2004, more than 500,000 razors have been sold.

Today, you'll find Recycline's products in 4,000-plus natural-food stores and mainstream supermarkets [e.g., Whole Foods Market [NASDAQ: WFMI], Wild Oats, Trader Joe's]; online at, and at Recycline's own online store; and in 100 select Target stores [NYSE: TGT], where the design-savvy, big-box retailer is testing sales of Recycline's innovative Preserve Jr Toothbrush.

Among Recycline's countless accolades is its seal of approval as a Co-op America Green Business, and membership in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Green Power Leadership Club, a prestigious rank within the EPA's Green Power Partnership. The honor recognizes Recycline's commitment to supporting the U.S. recycling industry in its business practices, and through the company's volunteer, professional and community actions. For example, besides making products from 100% recycled plastic that are also recyclable in communities with #5 plastics recycling, Recycline buys wind power to cover 100% of its total electricity consumption.

In addition to being eco-friendly, Recycline is also very kind to critters. In fact, the company's no animal testing policy has won high praise from the Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics, which maintains the personal-products industry's Corporate Standard of Compassion for Animals. Further, sales of Recycline's Preserve Jr Toothbrush help support the National Wildlife Federation [NWF], whose far-reaching aims to protect and restore the environment have inspired Recycline's product-design and educational efforts to simultaneously teach kids and adults about endangered species, oral hygiene, and the importance of recycling.

The Catalyst
It's tempting to presume that President and CEO Eric Hudson was initially inspired to launch Recycline after having seen "The Graduate" -- the 1967 hit movie in which Dustin Hoffman's character, Benjamin Braddock, is assured that the future is in...wait for it..."plastics." Not true.

"My brothers have often kidded me about it," said Hudson. "I was a bit too young to have the concept in mind when I first viewed it. I think I was too busy ogling over Mrs. Robinson to be thinking of business or plastics."

Nope, the real impetus for Hudson -- who, by the way, drives a Volkswagen Jetta fueled by used french-fry grease from Wendy's -- was his perceived need to stimulate the use of recycled materials in order to assist community recycling efforts. He deemed that increased consumption of products made from recycled materials would propel those efforts.

The Partner
Stonyfield Farm, a strategic partner with Groupe Danone [NYSE: DA], is based in Londonderry, N.H., and is a kindred spirit in the sustainable-business realm. The company has contributed more than 1 million yogurt cups to Recycline's recycled-plastics manufacturing process, which saves Recycline more than $20,000 per year in recycled-plastic purchases [mostly, in the form of used toys and grocery carts]. Stonyfield also helps to synergistically promote Recycline's products and practices.

The Strategy
Hudson believed that high-quality and innovative goods made from recycled materials were necessary to win consumer interest. Beyond that, he believed, those products also needed to be recyclable. Oh, and they should also be staple items; i.e., consumed on a regular basis.

The Process
Recycline's first product was the Preserve toothbrush, with nylon bristles and a 100% recycled-plastic, curved, ergonomic handle that helps users brush at a dentist-prescribed 45-degree angle. The brushes come with [or you can request] postage-paid mailers, and the company recycles returned toothbrushes and packaging into plastic lumber that's used to make picnic tables, decks, boardwalks, park benches and other durable products.

Since its launch 10 years ago, Recycline has added other oft-used personal-care products -- including a tongue scraper, razor and flavored toothpicks. Its line of sturdy, reusable and dishwasher-safe tableware -- including tumblers, plates and cutlery in bold and bright pear green, blue, red and lilac purple -- has also taken off.

In 2000, Stonyfield Farm stepped in to begin supplying thousands of used yogurt cups per month to Recycline's plastic recycling process. Stonyfield has also promoted Preserve toothbrushes via prominent placement on the covers of more than 20 million Stonyfield Farm yogurt lids, which are seen by consumers in all 50 U.S. states and several international locations [e.g., Hong Kong]. In exchange, Recycline seizes every opportunity to trumpet Stonyfield's generous, ongoing supply of yogurt cups.

"The purpose of this partnership is to show consumers, as well as other companies, what can be done in terms of planet-friendly practices," explained Gary Hirshberg, Stonyfield's president and CEO. "At the time we started the relationship, Recycline was just getting off the ground, and we felt it was a good way to support a smart, growing, environmentally friendly company. We started from the ground up, too, and know what it's like to get a company off the ground."

The Upshot
Hudson and Hirshberg are both quite candid about the power of optimizing their synergies as much as possible. "People love a story," said Hudson. "Companies working together create a story, and when they join together to reuse or recycle on one side what another cannot use, it's great.

"From a marketing perspective, we not only have similar ideals, but we try to reach many of the same consumers. By partnering with like-minded companies, we are able to communicate our message to more consumers and a broader audience. It also enables both partners to capitalize on the 'power' of both brands."

Case in point: When Stonyfield printed the story of Preserve toothbrushes on its yogurt lids, it demonstrated Stonyfield's environmental stewardship to their customers.

"We know that innovative, environment-friendly practices are not only good for the planet -- they're good for the bottom line, as well," said Hirshberg. "Recycline has proved that -- as has Stonyfield. In the past 10 years, through improved efficiency, Stonyfield Farm has saved over $1.7MM and 46 million kWh -- enough energy to power 4,500 homes for a year -- and prevented over 14,000 tons of CO2 from entering the atmosphere."

"Simply put, by helping each other, we achieve a greater reward to one another than we could have with the same effort focused on ourselves," noted Hudson. "From a grander viewpoint, in order to have an effect on the impact that we as a people have had on our earth -- through the industrial revolution and beyond -- people have got to join together, and companies have got to join together, to reverse the harm that we have caused."

The bottom line? "Many consumers are looking to spend their money in ways that help the planet, and support companies that are doing the same," said Hirshberg. "Companies like Recycline and Stonyfield gain respect and loyalty from our consumers, helping us to grow faster than our competition."

The Financials
In 1997, Recycline's first full year of selling product, sales were approximately $60,000. Today, the privately held company generates several million dollars in sales -- thanks, mostly, to the Preserve toothbrush, Preserve tableware and Preserve razor, each of which ranks No. 1 in their category in the $50 billion natural-products channel.

The Takeaway
Reflecting on his entrepreneurial adventures, what would Hudson advise other would-be small-biz owners to do? "Be ready to run a business," he replied flat-out. "Though it is our passion -- and that speaks miles to measure enthusiasm -- in the end, it has to be a successful, well-run business in order to survive."

What, if anything, would Hudson do differently in launching Recycline? "Nothing really comes to mind," he said. "There were not a lot of grand plans that mapped roads we went down and then regretted...We've explored a few opportunities that we have since moved away from, but I never really regretted this process. It is all part of evolution. Now, we know what to expect if we go down a similar path we once veered from."

And Hirshberg? "I don't think we'd do anything differently," he said. "This partnership has been mutually beneficial and easy to manage. We love working with Recycline and have been thrilled to see them thrive and grow since we bagan our relationship."

As for lessons learned along the way, Hirshberg is -- no surprise, here -- totally in sync with Hudson. "We've learned that there is strength in numbers -- at least when it comes to like-minded folks, groups or companies," he said. "If you've ever gone cross-country skiing after a fresh snow, you know that blazing a trail is challenging. But if you bring a friend along and take turns leading the way, it's easier on both -- not to mention, more fun. That's an analogy I would apply here. For an innovative company to lead the way, it takes perseverance and collaboration.

"Also, as environmentally friendly companies, we share common ideals and add strength to our environmental efforts and messages through partnerships. We all share the planet, and companies like Stonyfield and Recycline understand that there must be a wide-ranging, coordinated effort to develop and implement energy-saving, waste-reducing initiatives. The more the merrier, as far as we're concerned."

While studies have found Monday to be the most frequent day for the occurrence of fatal heart attacks [mostly, due to stress about facing another week of reporting to jobs that people dread], the notion is far removed for Hudson. "I love coming to work every day," he beams. "Really. I am energized by Recycline's team, and I think we're all energized by what we are doing. Every day, we have an influence on what Recycline will be. I think we all feel good about being part of forming an innovative, resourceful, pioneering consumer-products company that seeks to be as environment-friendly as possible in every step that we take.

"From the start, combining my personal commitments and beliefs with my professional life has been a wonderful thing. The largest thing I am personally committed to is the health of our planet, what we humans are doing to it, and what we can do to reduce our impact on it."

And to think that brand of eco-consciousness-in-action all starts and ends -- and then starts again -- with plastics...

A Traveler's Guide to Going Green! Green Hotels, Tips for Responsible Travel, Reducing Your Carbon Footprint, and More on

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Apple Announces iPod nano (PRODUCT) RED Special Edition; Portion of Proceeds Contributed to The Global Fund to Fight AIDS in Africa

Editor's note: As promised since our humble beginnings, GoodBiz113 is primarily about showcasing small businesses. On occasion, we're going to shamelessly feature small-biz champions and socially responsible GoodBiz113 Mall merchant partners...

Apple® just announced the iPod® nano (PRODUCT) RED Special Edition. (RED) was created by U2 lead singer Bono and Bobby Shriver to engage business in the fight against AIDS in Africa by getting the world’s most iconic companies to make uniquely branded products. A portion of the profits from these products goes directly to the Global Fund to fund programs for women and children affected by HIV/AIDS in Africa.

The iPod nano (PRODUCT) RED comes in a beautiful red aluminum enclosure and features 24 hours of battery life; Apple’s innovative Click Wheel; and an incredibly thin and light design. Apple will contribute $10 from the sale of each iPod nano (PRODUCT) RED to the Global Fund to help fight HIV/AIDS in Africa. Apple will also offer a $25 iTunes® (PRODUCT) RED gift card, available for purchase at Apple’s retail and online stores next month.

“We’re ecstatic that Apple is giving their customers the choice to buy a red iPod nano, and help women and children affected by HIV/AIDS in Africa,” said Bono, co-founder of (RED). “It's wonderful to see this incredible level of commitment from companies that are willing to lend their creativity in the fight against AIDS in Africa -- the greatest health crisis in 600 years.” Other (PRODUCT) RED partners include American Express, Converse, Emporio Armani, Gap and Motorola.

“Now, customers can buy the best music player in the world and do something to help the world at the same time,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “We’re honored to work with Bono, (RED) and this team to contribute to an incredibly important initiative and help change the way people think about AIDS in Africa.”

The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria was established in 2002, with the support of the world’s leaders and U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan, to dramatically increase resources to fight three of the world’s most devastating diseases, and to direct those resources to areas of greatest need by supporting locally-driven strategies. To date, the Global Fund has committed $5.2 billion [US] to more than 363 programs in 131 countries. For more information about (RED), please visit

Pricing & Availability
The iPod nano (PRODUCT) RED Special Edition is available worldwide in a 4GB model for $199 [US] through Apple’s retail stores and the Apple Store® []. All iPod nano models include redesigned earbud headphones providing superior comfort, fit and sound quality, and a USB 2.0 cable. The second-generation iPod nano features up to 24 hours of battery life and completely skip-free playback. The iTunes (PRODUCT) RED gift card will be available through Apple’s retail stores and the Apple Store [] next month for $25 [US].

iPod nano requires a Mac® with a USB 2.0 port and Mac OS® X version 10.3.9 or later and iTunes 7.0 or later; or a Windows PC with a USB 2.0 port and Windows 2000 [Service Pack 4], Windows XP Home or Professional [Service Pack 2] and iTunes 7.0 or later. Internet access is required and a broadband connection is recommended.

Battery life and number of charge cycles vary by use and settings. Music capacity is based on four minutes per song and 128-Kbps AAC encoding; actual capacity varies by content. Photo capacity is based on iPod-viewable photos transferred from iTunes.

Apple ignited the personal computer revolution in the 1970s with the Apple II and reinvented the personal computer in the 1980s with the Macintosh. Today, Apple continues to lead the industry in innovation with its award-winning desktop and notebook computers, OS X operating system, and iLife and professional applications. Apple is also spearheading the digital music revolution with its iPod portable music players and iTunes online music store.

4GB iPod nano RED Special Edition. Just $199, only at the Apple Store.