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Now At 6 Walmarts: A Big Giant Excuse Destroyer

Tom Szaky | Thursday October 28th, 2010 | 1 Comment

A frequent topic of conversation among business’s big thinkers is the importance of connecting with and more effectively engaging consumers. But how can you connect retailers, manufacturers and consumers with each other, simultaneously? It may have begun now, in the shape of a converted trailer now residing in 6 Walmarts.

The Terracycle Store Collection System is something that, beyond its ability to collect absolutely every material we typically collect for our upcycling based products, is something that I hope will be an example to other businesses: How to generate awareness of your company, while benefitting numerous other manufactures, retailers, and the community at the same time.

How does this happen?

In our case, it gives retailers a way to offer manufacturers an easy way to have their waste packaging collected, rather then ending up on the street or in landfills. It’s an easy win for both the retailer and manufacturer, and a way for consumers to do their part in waste reduction, a grass roots way to help the brands they like collect waste.

Inevitably, consumers will start asking if other brands can be collected, either those related to the ones they’re bringing in to return, or other ones entirely. This will bring other companies into the conversation, further reduce landfill load, and yes, increase business for us.

What these collection stations also do is create a literal version of the oft tossed around term, cradle to cradle design. People will come into their favorite stores, buy what they buy, bring the packaging back (or in the case of Sharpie, the actual product) which is then used to create new products, that are then sold in those same stores. The next step is to see how we can reuse what’s been reused!

The question that may come to mind for you is, will consumers make a point to keep and bring in the packaging for their purchases until the next time they go shopping?

It may take time for some, as any new habits/practices go, but we’re doing two things here to boost the likelihood: The collection unit is unmissably huge. It doesn’t gingerly sit in some obscure corner, as typical collection bins/barrels do now. It’s sheer size and clear signage of the type and brand of products each slot accepts takes out all guessing what this is about.

Add to that that each piece collected will result in 2 cents being donated to area schools (3 cents for people already part of one of our collection Brigades) and the motivation/type of person interested goes beyond those with environmental leanings.

Put it where people already are, rather then requiring they go out of their way, and you have a recipe for a potentially enormous impact.

Readers: What’s your business doing that connecting effectively outside the “green bubble”? Who’s accelerating the adoption of sustainable behavior effectively that you’ve seen?

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  • http://www.thegreeningofwestford.blogspot.com Kristina

    Where are these 6 WalMarts? I think this is a great idea. I am already a part of 9 of TerraCycle’s brigades. We have people all over town collecting – businesses, the library, and schools. Is this something you see spreading to more WalMarts? If so, how will things change for our collection efforts?