3 Green Companies That Do Sustainable Work

Planets are hard to find! Love Kindly. Cycle Technologies celebrate earth day | Brilliantly Simple Sustainable Family Planning Solutions

This month, we’re featuring 3 green companies that do great sustainable work.


Cycle Technologies Features Conscious Period on The Brilliantly Simple Blog

Photo courtesy of Conscious Period

Here’s a company on a menstrual mission! Margo Lang always knew she wanted to start a business that had a social good component to it, and Annie Lascoe was concerned about the ingredients in commercial tampons. BOOM! The two combined their talents and passions into the creation of Conscious Period, the first organic tampon in the USA with a “dual giving” model to provide for women in need. Conscious Period wants women to obtain healthy, safe, and sustainable period products. According to their website, the average american woman uses 16,800 tampons in her lifetime. And manufacturers are not required to disclose the ingredients of their tampons. Unfortunately what’s really in your tampon is not something we’re privy to and according to Phillip Tierno, a microbiologist at NYU’s School of Medicine “a lot of dioxin”  is in your tampon. The EPA classifies dioxin as carcinogenic and although trace amounts are ok, if a woman is exposed to dioxin a lot over the course of her menstrual lifetime (let’s say 16,800 times) Tierno points out, “That’s a lot of dioxin absorbed directly through the vagina. It goes directly into the blood.” Organic is starting to look a LOT more appealing.

What’s more…when you purchase a box of Conscious Period tampons, you’re not only providing yourself with chemical-free sanitary products – you are also providing a box of healthy, environmentally friendly pads to a woman who is need of sanitary supplies. How cool is that?  It’s a one-to-one, buy & give, business model.

Check them out and take note of their huge success on Indiegogo. As of March 31st, the first batch of Conscious Period tampons were shipped to initial project backers. And they were also just mentioned in a Newsweek article on Menstruation – so they must be doing something right! We’re looking forward to our box!


Photo credit: Hungry Harvest

Photo credit: Hungry Harvest

Getting rejected because of minor imperfections just plain sucks. What’s even worse is the 6 BILLION pounds of produce that is rejected and thrown out each year – many because of those imperfections! Now imagine families in need who could benefit from these fruits and vegetables and couldn’t care less if their granny smith apple is the perfect shade of green. Drum roll please… meet Hungry Harvest, a Baltimore-based company who wants to sell you its ugly fruits and vegetables and feed hungry people in need at the same time.

With more than 500,000 pounds of produce recused since its inception, Hungry Harvest founder, Evan Lutz and his team redistributed 185,000 of that 500,000 pounds of produce that otherwise would have been wasted. The model is subscription-based and customers browse the Hungry Harvest website to buy organic, quality produce boxes that we once rejected for one reason or another. And for every box a customer purchases (free delivery included by the way), another produce box gets delivered to a hungry family in need.

Whoa! The company was featured on Shark Tank and many “sharks” found the concept fascinating and truly sustainable.  So do we!


Cycle Technologies CycleBeads App featured for Earth Day Sustainable Innovations

Photo credit: Cycle Technologies

We believe that the benefits of fertility awareness methods are massive! And one of these benefits is helping to protect our environment.

How? Two ways:

  1. By ensuring fewer toxins and less packaging waste enter the environment; and
  2. Reducing unplanned pregnancies.

Since 2002, Cycle Technologies has focused on creating simple, sustainable family planning innovations and products that help women plan pregnancy or prevent pregnancy NATURALLY.

And it makes many of these tools available for free so that women all over the world can use them

Scientists and environmentalists have debated the impact that hormonal contraception may have on our environment, but it’s clear that the packaging, plastics, syringes and other paraphernalia associated with birth control affects the environment too.  There are lots of stories trying to rate the various methods in terms of their green impact – here, here, and here.

But really the most important thing when it comes to family planning and the environment is that people are able to avoid unplanned pregnancies. Population and its impact on the environment is another tricky discussion among scientists.  But we know that when people have access to family planning options that they want to use, they are likely to have fewer children. And when people are able to plan their families, they can better take care of them. Today there are over 222 million women worldwide who are at risk for pregnancy, but don’t use contraception currently.  Why? The #1 reason women cite for not using contraception is side-effects and health concerns.

Cycle Technologies works to provide women with effective, easy to use fertility awareness options that meet their needs. 

These “innovations at work” have the potential to address some of the most challenging problems we face today. Connect with us regularly and don’t forget to follow us on twitter, facebook, and email. If you have an innovation or idea that may help address a global problem, please contact us!

Cycle Technologies is a socially minded, consumer and technology company that creates brilliantly simple global health solutions to help address complex needs. To learn more about us, visit www.CycleTechnologies.com

March Top Picks for Sustainable Development Technologies

Cycle Technologies - Brilliantly Simple Global Health Solutions - TBSB Features Top Picks for Sustainable Development Technologies

Happy Spring! Here are our March favorite picks for sustainable development technologies.

1. Dot Period & Fertility Tracker



We can’t help but feature Cycle Technologies‘ – Dot Period & Fertility Tracker (#DotTheApp) this month! Dot was recently chosen to be featured at the Women Deliver Conference along with nine other amazing apps that are “changing the face of global health for women and girls”. The conference, which takes place in Copenhagen, Denmark May 16-19, will give participants a chance to interact with these cool technologies during it’s APPY Hour reception. We’re so honored to be on the impressive list of innovative companies and organizations making an impact on global health around the world, including Jhpiego, BVKit, MobileODT, Fundación Capital, Love Matters India, Maternity Foundation, IntraHealth InternationalWorld Vision USA Girls and Football SA. Let us know if you will be at Women Deliver conference this year. We’d love to connect!

2. Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy

Photo credit: Sharmeed Obaid Films

March is a celebration of Women’s History, and we believe that Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy will go down in the history books as a woman who is a catalyst for change. Obaid-Chinoy made history on March 7th when her film, A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness won an Oscar. In fact, she is the only Pakistani who has won TWO Oscars. “This is what happens when determined women get together,” she said during her Oscar acceptance speech. “That is the power of film.”  With more than 1000 women killed in the name of “honor” in Pakistan every year, this documentary follows the story of a rare survivor who falls in love and lives to tell the tale. To learn more about this masterful, social impact change-maker, visit Sharmeen Obaid Films.

3. AgriLux

Cycle Technologies Brilliantly Simple Blog Features AgriLux Spectrum LED Lightbulb

Photo credit: AG Innovation

Ontario-based AgriLux developed a new lighting system led by poultry-science expert, Dr. Gregoy Bedecarrats from the University of Guelph. The research shows that providing a new type of lighting for chickens results in an increase in egg production. The data show that making the chicken more comfortable, calmer and happier led to a better outcome – thus more egg-laying capacity.

Dr. Bedeccarat’s research and commercial partnership with Thies Electrical Distributing in Cambridge, Ontario, helped bring AgriLux lightbulb to the poultry science field. Take a look at the innovation behind this lightbulb and delve into the research on Agri-Technology Commercialization Center website for further information.

Hmmm…this is making us rethink the lighting at our office.

These “innovations at work” have the potential to address some of the most challenging problems we face today. Connect with us regularly and don’t forget to follow us on twitter, facebook, and email. If you have an innovation or idea that may help address a global problem, please contact us!

Cycle Technologies is a socially minded, consumer and technology company that creates brilliantly simple global health solutions to help address complex needs. To learn more about us, visit www.CycleTechnologies.com

Womenomics: Why It’s a WIN for All.

Womenomics: Why It’s a WIN for All.
by Leslie Heyer, Founder Cycle Technologies

Decision makers are suddenly recognizing that investing in women should be a global priority. What’s driving this thinking? The appreciation that investing in women not only makes sense from a humanitarian perspective, it makes sense from an economic perspective. Womenomics – a term being used to describe this phenomenon, is suddenly very popular. Why is investing in women so impaWomenomic-A-Win-Win-for-All-by-Leslie-Heyer-Cycle-Technologiesctful?

For one very basic reason: WOMEN INVEST IN THEIR FAMILIES 

As Melinda Gates said in a recent TIME article, “When we invest in women, we invest in the people who invest in everyone else.”

But what does it mean to invest in women? There are a lot of issues to address – education, nutrition, healthcare, gender equality, employment, etc. They are all important. But at the very basic level, women must first have control of their bodies.

Family planning is key to improving the lives of women.

Investing in family planning enables a woman to have children when – and if – she wants them. It reduces family size, increases income, improves her health and the health of all of her children.  In short, having fewer children and having children only when she is ready, enables a woman to better take care of herself and her entire family. The infographic below highlights the benefits in investing in family planning.


Consider some of these interesting statistics:

  • For every $1 invested in family planning, reproductive and maternal health, society receives $130 benefit
  • According to The Copenhagen Consensus which did a cost-benefit analysis on global aid initiatives, investing in universal access to sexual and reproductive health could have benefits as high as 130 to 1.
  • For every percentage point of fertility reduction, per capita GDP growth will likely increase by .25%. (Source: DFID)
  • Women who have access to contraception typically make 40% more than women who do not (Source: PAI)

Imagine what a different world this would be if every single child had a mother (and better yet a father too) who could provide for them, care for them, and educate them.  Many of the issues we deal with today – poverty, crime, disease, violence, and pollution – could be greatly improved.

Cycle Technologies is a private company focused on addressing the needs of women around the world with effective, sustainable family planning options. We’ve zeroed in on the issue of preventing unplanned pregnancies because we believe that by reducing unplanned pregnancies, and helping women have children only when they are ready, we are giving women the ability to change the world.

Investing in women is the RIGHT thing to do; it improves the world not just for that woman, but for all of us.

Related posts:

Can We All Stop Freaking Out About Super Bugs?

The idea of “super bugs” freaks us out, but a groundbreaking discovery for producing antibiotics is giving us hope. It addresses the issue of antimicrobial resistance and may help propel the development of new antibiotics.

As background, Dr. Kim Lewis and Dr. Slava Epstein of Northeastern University discovered a new antibiotic called teixobactin that cures severe infections and to which bacteria are unlikely to become resistant. It’s only been tested in mice so far. However, it’s expected to be tested for humans for use on strep, TB, and serious staph infections

So, this new antibiotic and its potential is super cool. What’s really interesting about it is HOW it was discovered and what this means for future antibiotic development.

Cycle Technologies Highlights the iChip

Slava Epstein – Northeastern University with iChip

Problem:  Growing new microbes is needed in order to make discoveries but only 1% of microbes can grow in the normal lab setting.  The result – no new discoveries within antibiotics have been made in almost 30 years.

Solution: Grow bacteria in soil – their natural environment! How? Use “iChip” – a small device that can help isolate and cultivate single cells in their natural environment.

The iChip was created by NovoBiotic with input from Lewis and Epstein.

Why is this a big deal? According to the World Health Organization’s first global report on surveillance focusing on antibiotics, superbugs are a major problem. The CDC estimates that two million people in the U.S. alone become infected with bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics, and at least 23,000 people die each year as a direct result of these infections.

Could this novel yet simple way path the path for future discoveries with regards to antibiotics? Possibly. Although teixobactin is touted as the first new antibiotic discovery in 30 years, it’s still about 5 years away from use on people. In the meantime, check out the following resources that summarize teixobactin and the iChip in greater detail.

Related Sources:

Intros, Everyone! Intros.

First things first… We really want to focus on others in this blog, but it seems a bit rude not to introduce ourselves further!  When folks hear about what we do, they often ask about our company, our team, and how we got our start.
Here it goes…

CycleTechnologies_Ideas_Whats In a Name-01

What’s in the name?

We could say that our founders were competitive cyclists, or that in the early days they used to carry 40 pound bags through the streets of Manhattan “cycling” to the post office on bikes to deliver product orders. Or that we just liked the metaphor of product “life cycles” and technology coming “full circle”, blah, blah, blah.  And while all of those may have played a little part in the inspiration, the real inspiration was based on the first product we launched back in 2002 –   it helped women track their reproductive CYCLES.

Interesting. What’s the product?

CycleBeads® – it’s a total game-changer in the world of family planning.

Really – Why?

Because it addresses a huge unmet need that the pharmaceutical and medical device companies didn’t have the capacity or vision to provide – an effective, low cost, natural method that is easy to offer and for women to actually use.

It’s a simple visual tool (patented of course!) that helps a woman track her cycle days, and know if she is on a day when pregnancy is possible. It’s scientifically-based, highly effective, well researched, and used by millions of women worldwide including by women in some of the countries with the most unmet need for effective contraception.  It can be used both to prevent pregnancies and to plan pregnancies. To date we estimate it’s helped prevent over 4.5 million unplanned pregnancies and helped women plan over 750,000 pregnancies successfully!

We can go on and on about the background and history but, we did promise to keep these blog entries “short and sweet,” Feel free to read all about the case study of CycleBeads here, read some of the stories about the impact it’s had on people’s lives in developing countries here, watch a video featuring women in the U.S. who use this method here, or check out the website – www.CycleBeads.com.

It’s quite impressive and when you see the impact this little simple tool has made globally, you’d be thinking the same as we did when we first learned about it. “Awesome. TOTALLY awesome.”

What else do you do?

Glad you asked! We have other simple tools currently in development — at this very moment actually! But, we’re sworn to secrecy until they are fine-tuned to excellence. We have some exciting things coming out later this year.

Why Should I “follow” you on social media or “subscribe” to your blog?

Because we’re serious about unearthing cool ideas and letting people know about them. Of course if we have a brilliantly simple idea here at Cycle Technologies, we’ll want to share that too. But it’s a big world with a lot of amazing things out there. We’ll sift through the noise and find the ones you should know about.

So, enough about us. Let’s get started!