Innovators in the News
8/14/12 - CLYNK Simplifies Recycling and Donations
It is difficult to walk into a Hannaford Supermarket and not notice the state of the art looking recycling kiosk known as “CLYNK”. What people that don’t use this service don’t realize is just how convenient it truly is.
CLYNK was founded in 2006. They are a unique and innovative bottling recycling company that can only be found in Hannaford supermarkets in Maine. CLYNK’s mission is to make recycling easier, while also educating the users about how their personal recycling (or lack thereof) can impact the environment. With the CLYNK system a user purchases bags that are available in two sizes, the large size costing 15 cents each, and the smaller size costing 12.5 cents each (the first 10 are free with a new account!). These bags are then linked to an account through bar-coded bag tags, and the user simply fills up the bags and drops them off at the CLYNK center. The amount is then added to their account. The user then brings their card to any CLYNK kiosk to withdraw any amount that they would like out of their account, at any time. This system eliminates the time that would be spent waiting for the cans/bottles to be counted at a redemption center which makes it much more convenient, while allowing for easy access to the money in the account. The database also makes it possible for a user to track their impact on the environment.
“When we opened our first pilot store at the Hannaford in Scarborough, the response from the public was about twice what we had anticipated and we were almost overwhelmed with returnables right from the start. Within a few months it was clear we had struck a chord with consumers and we knew we had a concept with potential”, says Clayton Kyle, CEO at CLYNK.
That initial great response has grown even further from the first location in 2006 to 46 locations across the state now. In the last 4 years CLYNK has increased the number of containers that it recycles by 50% up to 80 million containers annually.
The convenience of CLYNK also extends to community charities as well. An organization that is looking to do a bottle drive can simply purchase the bags, and distribute those to the people they would be contacting for a bottle drive. These people can then just fill up the bags, and return them to a Hannaford Store with a CLYNK kiosk, and the contents will automatically be deposited into the organization’s account. It is also possible to track that organization on CLYNK’s website to see their progress, and also donate to the organization directly from your own CLYNK account. This charitable giving service, called Hannaford Community Cash is expected to generate $250,000 for organizations this year.
CLYNK has received support from MTI in the form of seed grants, and developmental awards that have helped them to be able to bring their idea to life, and to the market. They have combined that help, with the old recycled ideas of hard work, and dedication, in order to earn their customers trust which will serve them well in the future.
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