Earlier this spring, Whole Foods Market and Cork ReHarvest announced a partnership to allow Whole Foods customers to leave wine corks in drop boxes in all Whole Foods stores in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdomto be recycled. This is an interesting program with a great focus on the lifecycle of products.
Although many people recycle cans, bottles and newspapers, too many other products slip through the cracks and end up in landfills. I have written in the past that all products that cannot be recycled in towns and municipalities at curbside should come with instructions on how to responsibly be disposed of when finished. Whether this includes empty toothpaste tubes or laptops, it is important for companies to not only focus on the green marketing message at time of sale, but also the environmental considerations at the end of the product’s lifecycle.
Whole Foods has been an industry pacesetter for some time, having announced a partnership with Preserve in early 2009 to allow customers to bring in hard-to-recycle #5 plastic to stores to be recycled. This includes Brita filters, which too often find the trash after two months use. Here is some additional coverage on the Whole Foods blog from April 2010.
My firm, Grossman Marketing Group, also tries to do its part by not only using environmentally-friendly products but also allowing our employees to bring in used lightbulbs (CFL), batteries and paint from home to be recycled.
Consumer goods and electronics companies have a long way to go to ensure that their customers know the facts about what to do with their products when they are finished using them. However, these partnerships that companies like Whole Foods have created are an encouraging step – and probably a very good way to continue to build their brand and encourage store foot traffic at the same time!