Around the world, entrepreneurs are finding ways to repurpose waste in meaningful ways. Conceptos Plásticos is one company making huge strides in this field, using plastic and rubber waste to build homes for struggling communities in Latin America. Their threefold goal of reducing pollution, alleviating poverty and and improving social conditions is rooted in innovation, sustainability, and interconnectedness.
Conceptos Plásticos harnesses advanced extrusion technology that melts and molds recovered plastic and rubber into construction materials. The final products are Lego-like blocks that are durable and easily installed. In the past few years, the company has repurposed over 300 tons of plastic, effectively reducing CO2 emissions as well as water and energy consumption.
The company is also dedicated to corporate social responsibility, empowering members of their targeted communities. The Conceptos Plásticos system requires no skilled labor and is quickly assembled, so after a short training session locals are equipped with the ability to install their homes themselves. In just five days, a home for one family can be built by just four people!
Conceptos Plásticos isn’t only appealing to the sustainable engineering community, but is also a vibrant opportunity for governments, NGOs, and other organizations to invest in. Not only are they 30% cheaper than traditional systems used in rural areas, but they also generate hundreds of jobs indirectly and alleviate the suffering of displaced populations. By weaving interests of environmental protection, economic growth, and social wellbeing, Conceptos Plásticos is generating incentives for different public sectors to work together to solve pressing current issues.
Keep your eyes open for startups like Conceptos Plásticos that are pioneering solutions and inspiring change around the world!
Sea's the Day!
Last week, thousands of brands gathered in Salt Lake City for the annual Outdoor Retailer convention. Among the countless exhibitors, Folk Rebellion is a brand that both inspired and reaffirmed the simple, outdoors-oriented lifestyle that Fair Harbor stands for.
The incentive behind Folk Rebellion is a craving to experience the world face to face, rather than through the screens of our myriad devices. It’s true that technology has delivered a remarkable possibility for connecting people, places, and ideas. However, it has also distracted us from the connections to be made readily in front of us should we only unplug for a moment and look around.
Folk Rebellion is educating others about this technology dependency epidemic. For example, their blog shares that teenagers today spend an average of 11 hours a day looking at a digital device. The effect of this is literally crippling as it takes away from time that could be otherwise spent outdoors or being active. What’s so inspiring is that Folk Rebellion is also preaching that we’re far more dependent on these technologies than weneed to be. It is well within our capacity to put down the screens, slow things down, and reorient ourselves with real opportunities that surround us. It simply comes down to the choices we make every day.
Check out Folk Rebellion’s website for a bold gathering of cool products and blog posts such as the enlightening feature, “You Are Not the Sum of Your Likes”. Join Folk Rebellion and Fair Harbor in putting what’s important back into perspective—get up and go outside.
Boxed Water is a company based out of Michigan that’s taking measures to ensure that every step of their business is environmentally friendly. Their product itself is an achievement in sustainability—using paper instead of plastic to hold water. Even more, Boxed Water’s eco-friendly business model reaches every stage of their business from production to consumption. They use renewable resources, work with well-managed forests, and optimize delivery efficiency so as to minimize their carbon footprint.
Even more cool, Boxed Water has joined forces with the National Forest Foundation and 1% For The Planet to meet the goal of planting one million trees by 2020! For every picture posted on social media with a Boxed Water and #ReTree, Boxed Water plants two trees. Already 3/4 of the way to their goal for 2016 of 200,000 trees planted, Boxed Water is making HUGE strides in giving back what they take from the environment.
Boxed Water is recruiting everyone to join the conversation about our global plastic waste problem and educating people about steps we can take to alleviate the problem. Their website offers suggestions such as opting for reusable grocery bags, buying in bulk, and choosing microbead-free cosmetics. You can learn about more solutions atwww.boxedwaterisbetter.com/one-small-thing!
Their message is simple and indisputable—creating change is as easy as the small daily decisions we make. Look for Boxed Water to help you stay hydrated this summer.
You’ll never guess what resource expert Carmen Hijosa has developed as an alternative textile for leather—pineapple leaves! Hijosa’s revolutionary textile, Piñatex, is a multifaceted solution. It addresses issues posed by inefficient practices in pineapple production as well as repercussions of unsustainable practices in the leather industry.
Various leather products often broadcast labels such as “eco-friendly”, a misleading representation of the environmental and ethical effects of raising livestock and turning their skin into leather. Regulatory agencies are far too often negligent in ensuring standards are met by the manufacturers who claim to have environmentally friendly practices. In reality, raising animals for leather requires huge amounts of food, water and energy. The process of turning skin into leather also utilizes chemicals that are extremely dangerous for human health, and produces tons of waste.
After a trip to the Philippines, Carmen Hijosa was provoked by how leather production was not only terrible for the environment and the local people, but also that the leather being produced there was poor quality. As a solution, she developed a means to extract the fibers of otherwise discarded pineapple leaves, a process called decortication. These fibers are then turned into a strong and flexible supplement for leather. Decortication also creates a biomass that can be repurposed as fertilizer, and can be done easily by the local farming community, providing an extra source of income.
Carmen is stimulating real positive change in wasteful industries, helping others to not just repurpose their waste, but upscale it! After years of development, Piñatex is en route to major leather markets. Keep your eyes open for Piñatex and other innovative solutions to animal-based products!
Watch out, shoe industry! Allbirds is reinventing the way we make and think about wearing shoes. Allbirds is a sneaker company with the motto “Better shoes in a better way”. All of their shoes are made out of merino wool as opposed to synthetics and rubbers that most sneakers are made out of. Allbirds is pioneering in this transformation of footwear, being the first in the industry to create runners out of wool. Merino wool is a natural material that minimizes odor, wicks moisture, regulates temperature and oh, it’s incredibly soft! The idea came to co-founder Tim Brown after growing up in New Zealand and noticing how the country’s once thriving sheep industry was slowing down. Taking a step back and realizing that the great sustainable resource of wool had such potential, Brown struck the idea of turning wool into sneakers.
Allbirds is an inspiring company in many ways. They are going above and beyond other companies by stressing the importance of making their stylish shoe as sustainable and environmentally friendly as it can be. The merino wool they use is ZQ-certified, promising you that the farming practices and treatment of the sheep meet sustainable and welfare standards. Co-founders Tim Brown and Joey Zwillinger have worked hard to defy the big shoe industry by leaving a 60% smaller carbon footprint during the production of their wool than that of synthetic materials AND using 40% less packaging materials than the traditional shoe packaging.
Allbirds is changing an industry for the better by using what is sustainable and what is around us in nature. They are connecting our everyday lives to nature one pair of runners at a time. Just as you feel good knowing that with every pair of Fair Harbor Boardshorts you wear you’re giving a new life to 11 discarded water bottles, you feel good knowing that when you slip on a pair of Allbirds you are wearing an environmentally friendly product.
Allbirds and Fair Harbor both have looked at our world and have seen how certain materials could be manipulated into a new environmentally conscious product. Everyday more and more people are thinking outside of the box and creating these great ideas. If we all started to observe resources that surrounds us and begin to find alternative uses for them, could you imagine how our world would change? With a little creativity, the possibilities are endless! Follow Allbirds’s motto and find “a better way” to create the products that you use in your everyday life.
Join us in welcoming Norton Point to the sustainable brand scene! Just last week, Norton Point launched their first line of sunglasses manufactured out of recovered plastic. Based out of Martha’s Vineyard, MA, Norton Point’s journey has taken them all the way to Haiti. Haiti’s insufficient waste management exacerbated by extreme weather and the 2010 earthquake has defiled the natural beauty of the country’s landscape, littering it with loads of plastic. Much of this plastic ultimately contributes to the 8 metric tons that pollute our oceans each year. Like all of us here at Fair Harbor, the guys at Norton Point “sea plastic differently”—not as trash but as a resource.
Norton Point has teamed up with the Ocean Conservancy and the Plastic Bank to create cool pairs of polarized and scratch resistant sunglasses, perfect for those beach days ahead! Even more, Norton Point has committed to a “1 to 1” policy, pledging to remove 1 pound of plastic from the oceans for every product they manufacture, and to put 5% of their net profits towards global ocean clean up efforts.
Join us in welcoming the long sunny days of summer; grab your Norton Point shades, Fair Harbor board shorts, and hit the beach!