Graham Bergh and the Resource Revival Team

In the category of businesses doing good, I’ve got a friend who started out with a funky little product and a unique business idea and has turned it into a very successful venture. Graham Bergh runs Resource Revival from a small compound on a hill high above Mosier, Oregon. On the grand scale of places to call home, work or both, Graham’s compound scores an 11 out of 10. And he’s striving for a 12.

Resource Revival crafts unique gifts and promotional items from recycled bicycle parts. In the process they’ve helped close the loop where they can. Graham started out with a product he dubbed the “tube-tie,” and grew Resource Revival into a business whose mission is to:

“…create innovative products from recycled materials, to provide meaningful, living wage jobs, and to have fun. We envision a sustainable future where commerce flourishes in a world powered by renewable energy, and where consumers are conscious of the origin of the food they eat, the energy they consume, and the products they buy.”

The idea is simple: Bike shops around the country collect their discarded chain and sprockets, put them in a box, and then call Resource Revival when the box is full. RR then sends UPS to pick up the box. What they do with it after that might be called magic, but you can definitely call it art.

I asked Graham if he’d like to share some tidbits about his business and success and, of course, he was quite willing. Brevity is one of his stronger suits, so if you’d like more than what’s provided here, you can visit www.resourcerevival.com/stories/list. From there you can contact him to find out more.

MarketGreener: In just a few of sentences, please describe your business.
Graham Bergh: Resource Revival collects old greasy chain and gears from bike shops and transforms them into everything from key chains to clocks.

MG: What originally inspired you to start this business?
GB: I got a flat tire bicycling to my recycling job.

MG: Did you originally intend it to become a green or sustainable business?
GB: Absolutely. I had been in to recycling since college and knew I could create new uses for discards.

MG: Are your customers the general public or other businesses?
GB: Our customers are both.

MG: Do your products or services help your customers achieve a particular goal of sustainability?
GB: Yes. Specifically, certain corporations and/or government agencies have mandates or targets for buying recycled.

MG: What have you done to make your business more sustainable?
GB: Good question. We moved from 7000 square feet [in downtown Portland] to 4800 square feet and only heat half of that. We revived existing buildings rather than building new ones. And we plan to install solar panels and/or wind turbines within three years.

MG: Do you have particular benchmarks that help you identify your business’ level of sustainability?
GB: Oddly, no. But we do track how much material we collect. It is a lot. But it is also a secret.

MG: Do you have goals for sustainability for the future?
GB: Solar and/or wind, reducing our electricity use to net zero. My goal is to have a plug-in hybrid by then too.

MG: Who are your professional mentors or heroes?
GB: My parents. Ben & Jerry. [Yvonne] Chouinard.

MG: Is there anything you’d like to add that I might have missed?
GB: Passion is a good thing.