The Greening of Accessories

F.A.B. Starpoint, a leading accessories licensee, and TerraCycle, an upcycling company, have partnered to produce cutting-edge and stylish accessories using various waste materials. What do you get when you bring togethe

April 6, 2018

4 Min Read

F.A.B. Starpoint, a leading accessories licensee, and TerraCycle, an upcycling company, have partnered to produce cutting-edge and stylish accessories using various waste materials.

What do you get when you bring together the best-in-class philosophy from two very different companies? i1_578.jpg

A unique and cutting-edge approach that takes waste materials and turns them into a product of higher value has the potential to become one of the hottest and most innovative multicategory collections of eco-friendly licensed merchandise.

F.A.B. Starpoint, one of the leading accessories licensees, and TerraCycle, an upcycling company, have joined forces to produce creative accessory products using waste materials such as juice and candy wrappers, cookie packages and various other products, including pens, pencils, CDs, DVDs, tape rolls, furnace filters and even saw blades.

"We tried to get into recycling and eco-friendly products in other ways," says Steve Russo, president and chief executive officer of New York-based F.A.B. Starpoint. He believes that, from a merchandising perspective, this new partnership will have a huge impact at retail.


"We will take material that has no value and would sit in a landfill for thousands of years and turn it into a product that now has value," says Russo. "Imagine the positive feeling among kids, who recycle the cookie bags, for example, and see it on accessory products. They will have an emotional attachment to that product."

For Tom Szaky, who founded TerraCycle in 2001 as a freshman at Princeton University while working on a class project, the idea was simple: "Take waste, process it, and turn it into a useful product."

And in eight years, Szaky has done just that, growing TerraCycle into a bona fide waste collection and retail business.


The overall process actually begins with TerraCycle's marketing efforts to acquire materials directly from consumers, manufacturers, schools and retailers, using customized bins compartmentalized for specific types of products.

For example, TerraCycle currently has exclusive deals with several manufacturers, including Capri Sun, Nabisco, Frito Lay, Kashi, Clif and Bear Naked, to collect wrappers and packaging. The company also has collection programs for cell phones, corks and yogurt containers.

Most recently, TerraCycle and Mars signed an exclusive partnership in May to repurpose used packaging and surplus from the 20 Mars brands.

With a program called the "Cookie Wrapper Brigade" or "Drink Pouch Brigade," sponsored by Nabisco and Capri Sun, respectively, TerraCycle pays two cents for every wrapper that is returned to the company. Thousands of schools, clubs, organizations and individuals participate in the company's various waste collection efforts. i4_133.jpg

In addition, TerraCycle has signed deals with several retailers, including Office Max, Best Buy, Home Depot and Petco, to place Eco-Options collection bins in stores so customers can drop-off various products and packaging.

Over the past several years, TerraCycle has created several such products: fertilizer made from garbage and packed in soda containers, garden pots made from computers and fax machines, fire logs made from wax cardboard, as well as bags made from juice and snack wrappers and several other office products. Recently, TerraCycle created a kite made from Oreo cookie wrappers that is sold exclusively at Walmart. According to Szaky, the program has already diverted more than 1 million wrappers from landfills and clearly exemplifies the impact of the program.

Another example, Szaky points out, is a pencil case made from six Capri Sun juice boxes that was the No. 1 selling pencil case at Target last year.

And both Szaky and Russo point out that these products, unlike other eco products, are not premium priced but priced lower than comparable products.

However, Szaky realized that TerraCycle's specialty is not product development, retail sales or marketing, so the company formed a partnership with F.A.B. Starpoint to handle product development, production and retail sales.

Says Szaky: "It's difficult for TerraCycle to have a sales and marketing infrastructure to call on retailers, so our agreement with F.A.B. Starpoint is a very complementary relationship."

"Forget how you make products, let's start with the garbage and create new products which are truly environmentally friendly," says Russo. "Kids are collecting waste streams and seeing product at retail stores such as Walmart."


In fact, an example of the impact and publicity that TerraCycle has generated is a new television series on the National Geographic Channel that debuted in April. Called "Garbage Moguls," it tells the behind-the-scenes stories of the company that "turns trash into mass-market treasures."

According to Russo, placemats, tablecloths, umbrellas, totes, messenger bags, backpacks, handbags, stationery products, jewelry boxes, clocks and lighting are some of the products being developed using waste materials acquired by TerraCycle. He says a fire log carrier and tool belts are being developed for Home Depot.

F.A.B. Starpoint also will help TerraCycle identify best-in-class licensees in other product categories such as footwear.

Russo projects that there will be $100 million to $150 million of new eco products at retail by spring 2010 that will coincide with the 40th anniversary of Earth Day.

The partnership between F.A.B. Starpoint and TerraCycle brings together two different companies whose combined expertise will create new, innovative and eco-friendly products that will garner a tremendous interest at retail and among consumers.

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