Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, TerraCycle



One of the more enjoyable positions I have held in the past involved doing grassroots marketing for CLIF Bar. The main reason for my liking the job had a lot to do with my belief in the corporate venture that CLIF had embarked upon and my support of the values and integrity undergirding it. Instead of looking good spirited and hardworking people in the eyes and convincing them of needs they did not know of before, I could hand these same folks a sustainable energy bar as they pedaled from Seattle to Portland or drifted down the slopes of Stevens Pass. Performing the role of Santa Claus usually does not disappoint. When people inquired into CLIF’s business I would have cool things to tell them such as CLIF’s purchase of over 100 million pounds of Organic food products for their bars in their years in the industry or their programs such as the 2mile challenge that collected $100,000 to donate to Nonprofits  working toward promoting greener  forms of transportation. Another appreciated aspect of CLIF is their partnership with TerraCycle.

While CLIF strives to remain as sustainable as they can possibly be, they have not been able to as of yet package their products in any materials able to preserve them in a way that keeps them adequately fresh and is at the same time ecologically agreeable. Whereas these situations occur too often in corporate endeavors, heavily favoring commercial margins over ecological costs, CLIF has striven to eliminate as many traces as only possible of their carbon footprint by allying themselves with TerraCycle, an outfit that acquires all non-recyclable consumer packaging that would take up space in a landfill otherwise in order to rework these materials into slick and reusable consumer products that range from fences made of juice pouches to kitchen cutting boards composed of empty soda bottles to high back park benches that had been energy bar wrappers.

Even though I have been spreading the word on how TerraCycle will pay for 2 cents to a charity of choice for old wrappers to many a person with a mouthful of Mojo Bars or Shot Blocks, or what have you with the CLIF branding, I never knew that TerraCycle had until recently come close to sinking and going tops down when it lost $ 2.2 million on sales of $ 7.6 million. To address this disastrous trend TerraCycle got together and decided they did not know how to best manufacture their products and so decided to become a licensing company as opposed to a product company. This meant giving up a lot of the control as far as what happened with the finished products; in other words: sales. Once TerraCycle approached their investors and board to gather their support, and then partnered with a firm that shared their vision and could do what TerraCycle had so far been doing, only better, the game was on.  At the moment TerraCycle is projecting a $ 3.2 million profit on sales of $ 16 million. Not a bad turnaround.

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