RecycleBoxBin keeps it all in the family

Founders’ daughter purchases business with plans to maximize growth while maintaining mission.
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The bins feature a simple labeling system to instruct users where to put waste; compost; plastic, aluminum or glass; deposit returnables; paper products; and more. Courtesy of RecycleBoxBin

Founders John and Melissa Ziech have handed the reins of their business, RecycleBoxBin, to their daughter, who said she shares their passion for sustainable materials management.

Sarah Pfeiffle purchased Grand Rapids-based RecycleBoxBin from her parents, the Ziechs, in January 2020 after spending about a year working with them on a succession plan.

Founded in 2010, RecycleBoxBin provides affordable recycling solutions for businesses, schools and other organizations via bins created of as much recycled content as possible that use a simple labeling system to instruct users where to put waste; compost; plastic, aluminum or glass; deposit returnables; paper products; and more.

Pfeiffle said she intends to position the company as a leader in sustainable recycling products while maintaining its heritage of quality, affordable, customizable and visually appealing recycling bin solutions for its customers.

“Sustainability is more than a buzzword,” she said. “It’s a mission. RecycleBoxBin gives us the opportunity to amplify our core values and help maximize the benefits recycling can provide for our planet.”

From the early days of RecycleBoxBin, the Ziechs’ focus was to offer a “simple, smart, flexible and great-looking product” created with as much recycled content as possible to help businesses thrive in their sustainability efforts.

The company opened its physical doors in 2011 at 401 Hall St. SW in Grand Rapids and expanded in October 2017, moving to 3555 32nd St. SE, Suite B, in Kentwood, where it remains today.

Sarah Pfeiffle and Andrew Pfeiffle. Courtesy Sarah Pfeiffle

John Ziech, a former facilities design director for Steelcase, pursued his passion for design and sustainability after retiring. He created the original patent-pending design and custom labeling system, which provides customers with proprietary labels and the flexibility they need to adapt as their recycling programs change over time. He received input from his wife, Melissa Ziech, a former teacher who knew firsthand how schools were struggling to implement affordable recycling programs.

RecycleBoxBin integrates the organization’s social and environmental practices into its products. The company is a “near zero landfill” user at its site and works to minimize its negative impact on global resources.

The company grew organically over time, selling more than 30,000 bins in the past decade.

The Ziechs knew they would eventually retire — for the second time — and since Pfeiffle said she and her husband, Andrew Pfeiffle, and two daughters have long had an interest in the company’s mission and goals and would sometimes help out with large orders as the business grew, she agreed to become the second-generation owner.

“Sustainability has always been something that we’ve felt passionate about and tried to instill in our kids, as well,” she said.

To ensure a smooth transition for customers, Pfeiffle began working with her parents on a part-time basis a year prior to purchasing the company while also continuing to work her full-time career of 20 years at Reagan Marketing + Design. She left her job in January and is now the full-time majority owner/operator of RecycleBoxBin.

Pfeiffle said RecycleBoxBin continued to be profitable in 2020 but had to navigate disruption — like so many other companies — when COVID-19 began shuttering businesses and schools.

“We’ve learned a lot about resilience and perseverance this year,” she said. “Right now, we’re seeing positive momentum as businesses and schools begin to reopen and sustainability is emerging as not just an environmental issue for organizations, but as an issue with tremendous support from employees, their customers and students as well.”

Pfeiffle said she is dedicated to upholding RecycleBoxBin’s reputation for personal service and its commitment to its local roots by working with area vendors.

The company ships its customizable bins to all 48 U.S. continental states from Grand Rapids. Shipments to Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and Canada are subject to additional shipping charges.

Recently, RecycleBoxBin announced the PepsiCo Recycle Rally program now offers their Triple Recycling Bin as a reward item for schools participating in the free program. Each bin comes with new custom-designed labels and additional label options available for download.

Although RecycleBoxBin is essentially a sole proprietorship under Pfeiffle at the moment, she said she is keeping her eye on growth by investing in and increasing sales to small and large corporations, schools, places of worship, nonprofits, property managers, individuals and more. Before COVID-19 hit, Pfeiffle was planning to hire, and she said she still hopes to be able to add some assembly, packing and inventory jobs in the coming months as business allows.

More information about the company is at recycleboxbin.com or by emailing admin@recycleboxbin.com.

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