Fast Company

Sustainability as a Work in Progress

Talk of Green Design is dominated by examples of products made of recycled materials, but sustainability is about more than materials. It’s about material sourcing. It’s about manufacturing processes. It’s about shipping and receiving.

 


Last week, I attended the Real Green conference organized by the Boston chapter of IDSA (www.idsaboston.org) and there was one example that struck me because it demonstrates that a company can pursue sustainability at every point in the development cycle.

 

Recycline (www.recycline.com), makers of Preserve Personal Care, Tableware and Kitchen tools, makes their products from recycled materials and they strive to make their products compelling enough that they don’t rely on recycled content as their sole selling point.

 

The thing that I find most interesting about Recycline, however, is not the recycled plastic they use. Don’t get me wrong, if you can manufacture your products using recycled materials, by all means do it. And if you do, you deserve credit for putting in the extra effort to reduce your company and customers impact on the environment.

 

Recycline has a fairly well known partnership with Stonyfield Farm Yogurt, which gives them access to a supply of used yogurt cups and scrap. This supply allows them a little more control over the consistency of their raw materials and that extra consistency pays dividends in quality control.

 

Recycline’s Preserve products demonstrate that using recycled materials does not mean sacrificing quality. For this reason, they deserve to be held up as an example, but I still haven’t gotten to the most impressive aspect of their efforts.

 

They have staff that is dedicated to tracking their environmental impact by examining each stage of production, shipping, and return. This constant review allows them to make the most of their efforts and identify new areas of efficiency. This is the most important aspect of their effort to reduce their environmental impact, because it recognizes that there is more work to be done. While many companies would be happy to label their products ‘made from X% recycled material’ at Recycline they are challenging themselves to do more.

 

David Oliver | Cusp  | www.cuspdevelopment.com

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