(This story was updated on 4/13/2023.)
Hydro Flask has launched an initiative where consumers can recycle over-loved or unwanted Hydro Flask products.
All you have to do is print out a label, slap it on an old Hydro Flask water bottle, and send it back. The company will give you a $5 credit.
According to Hydro Flask, this is the first program of its kind in the hydration production category.
Indigo Teiwes, director of corporate responsibility for parent company Helen of Troy‘s houseware segment, emphasized that Hydro Flask was founded to create a product that’s a reusable replacement for single-use plastics.
“We’ve been thinking about this for a while,” she said, in an interview with The Daily. “It was just the right time to invite our consumers in. Give them an incentive for doing the right thing for Planet Earth.”
Teiwes declined to comment on the financial implications of the program for the company, but said “we wouldn’t be doing it if it wasn’t a good idea.”
Hydro Flask is making strides towards its long-term sustainability effort to create a circular product lifecycle with the introduction of its new trade-in program.
The trade-in program allows customers to recycle their bottles, tumblers and other stainless steel products in a responsible way.
“We wanted to make it as easy as possible for consumers,” said Lucas Alberg, senior manager of public relations and brand communications at Hydro Flask. “The lowest barrier to entry as possible.”
To participate, a consumer follows a few quick steps, starting with registering the Hydro Flask product at the company’s website.
The customer then prints a shipping label and sticks it directly on the item, no additional packaging required.
Once the product is received, they’re emailed a $5 redeemable promo code, which can be used on the company’s website.
Internally, Hydro Flask has already been recycling used or damaged returned products. Since 2017, the company has recycled over 100,000 pounds of stainless steel and polypropylene. But Hydro Flask products cannot be added to curbside recycling.
“We’re just trying to make that easier pathway for consumers to do the right thing,” Alberg said. “Because it’s really not that easy of a step to recycle stainless steel, even though it is highly recycled in general. But this will allow consumers to just have it be a bit more approachable for them.”
The company doesn’t have control over what happens with the recycled steel, but Teiwes pointed out that 60% of stainless steel in the U.S. is from recycled content.
“If you pick up a stainless steel item, there’s a chance that there’s an old Hydro Flask molecule in that product,” she added.
Ultimately, the success of the program comes down to consumer education, Teiwes said, because that leads to a customer picking up a reusable bottle instead of a single-use throwaway container.
“It’s the consumer behavior that we’re trying to incentivize here to return the product to us so we can make sure it gets back into the circular economy,” she added.
Teiwes added that Helen of Troy is working on more environmental initiatives, and will be releasing its next environmental, social and governance report in a couple of months.
Bart Schaneman can be reached at email@example.com.