Bill Acevedo

Usually, the most revolutionary ideas are those that address the most “simple” problems.  One aspect of sustainability that is seriously overlooked, but often complained about, is packaging.  Boxes, bags, wrappers, bags in boxes – you name it.  Excessive packaging is everywhere from food to toys to everyday household goods.

Some companies, like Ecologic Brands, Clif Bar, and Walmart are changing the way the goods that we buy are packaged.  In 2006, Walmart introduced a packaging scorecard with the intention of improving packaging design, conserving resources, and reducing packaging along its global supply chain by 5% by 2013.  The results have been impressive with packaging design breakthroughs from many Walmart suppliers.

Clif Bar, for its part, recently introduced The Climber wine pouch.  Clif Bar boasts that it has an 80% lower carbon footprint than two glass bottles, it is 90% less waste than said bottles, and best of all  it reseals and keeps your wine fresh for up to one month after opening.  That is a breakthrough!

And, this week’s guest on The Wendel Forum radio show, Ecologic Brands (http://www.ecologicbrands.com/)  is re-thinking the way that common household supplies such as milk and laundry detergent are packaged.  Using recycled and recyclable (i.e., you can recycle it again) cardboard, Ecologic Brands is swapping out the plastic that clogs landfills and our oceans.  The bottle is composed of an outer cardboard paper shell and a recyclable plastic liner.  The liners are made of 70% less plastic than your average jug.  If you have kids, or if you play as a hard as you work, you know how much of an environmental benefit it is to have laundry detergent bottles like these.

But don’t take my word for it.  Tune your radio (or computer) to Green 960 AM at 11:30 this Saturday morning to hear Ecologic Brand’s CEO, Julie Corbett, tell you all about her revolutionary idea to address the way we package everyday household goods.

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Discarded clothing makes up a huge part of the solid waste stream. In Episode 10 of The Wendel Forum (first aired on April 9, 2011, on Green 960 AM radio), our host Bill Acevedo interviews two up-and-coming companies with completely different approaches to limiting the amount of waste that piles up in our landfills.  In the first segment, James Reinhart, the co-founder of thredUP (www.thredup.com) discusses the company, which is an online peer-to-peer exchange for children’s clothing. James explains the business model behind this swap-enabling website that saves families money and makes it easy to keep outgrown clothing from ending up as landfill. 

Picture of Platinum Dirt and Thred Up in studio for The Wendel Forum radio show.

Left to Right: Dustin Page (Platinum Dirt designer), James Reinhart (thredUP co-founder) and Aaron Parrish (Platinum Dirt CEO) in studio for The Wendel Forum radio show.

In the second segment, Dustin Page and Aaron Parrish of Platinum Dirt (www.platinumdirt.com) discuss sustainability and the high fashion world of recycled leather apparel.  Not only does the company create jackets, purses and other products that are works of art, they do so by reusing leather stripped from vintage cars otherwise destined for landfills.

What other companies have found new business models for clothing products that lighten the load on our waste stream?

Post links:

Download Episode: Episode 10 of The Wendel Forum(26 min)

thredUP: www.thredup.com

Platinum Dirt: www.platinumdirt.com

Each Spring and Fall I find myself going through the closets and dressers to collect donations to cart off to Goodwill.  With two little but ever growing children, this is less about being charitable than it is about a rite of necessity.  I have to get rid of old stuff so that I can replace it new stuff.  The Goodwill model, accepting my old stuff to give it to people as their new stuff, seems to fit the bill.  Well, almost.

You see, I don’t replace the children’s clothes with clothes from Goodwill.  I go out and buy brand new clothing to take the place of their outgrown garments.  Yes, I share these purchases with others later on, but for the most part, I keep consuming.  There has to be a different approach, don’t you think?

On this week’s show, we’ll talk to two emerging companies that are answering this question. 

ThredUp (www.thredup.com) is an online exchange for used children’s clothing and toys.  ThredUp’s CEO, James Reinhart, sits down and tells us how his idea, which he likens to a Netflix for kids’ clothes – is taking off.  According to Reinhart, ThredUp is signing 1,000 mothers – PER DAY – as clothes-swapping members.

As for you adults, have no fear, there is something for you, too.  Platinum Dirt (www.platinumdirt.com), which is headed by Dustin Page and Aaron Parrish, will also join the Forum discussion.  They will tell you about their ingenius idea to recycle leather seating from Cadillacs, Lincolns, BMWs, Mercedes, and other cars left to rot in the junkyard.  They take this leather and turn them into beautifully designed leather jackets, wallets, and purses.

It will be an exciting discussion – recycling, fashion, and environmental and business benefits.  Tune in to Green 960 AM to learn how emerging clothing industry entreprenuers are moving beyond the Goodwill approach to recycle clothing and repurpose materials to create new fashions.