Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Sustainability and the BIG GUYS ... sigh

If you are like me, you auto-record entrepreneurial TV shows like Shark Tank and The Profit. These are the two shows I manage to scrupulously carve out time for in my demanding schedule. If you've never watched, my opinion is that you are missing out! {Though I have to say my 12-year-old daughter who is a budding entrepreneur herself would not agree. She refuses to watch Shark Tank and asserts that the Sharks are ruthless and outright rude.} Personally, I find that these shows are not only entertaining, but are a source of inspiration and motivation for me; sometimes I even walk away with a business lesson or two!

An innovative green pizza box is pitched to the Sharks
This week's episode featured a New York-based company that manufactures a clever, eco-friendly pizza box. They were looking for an investment from a Shark to help bring their green concept to mainstream pizza chains. I was happy to see this innovative eco-minded company walk away with a contingency deal from one of the Sharks, but not before they were warned by lead Shark Kevin O'Leary -- otherwise known as Mr. Wonderful -- about the challenges of bringing sustainable packaging to mainstream corporations.

Mr. Wonderful, who has worked with many of the big guns in consumer commerce, warned that unless the switch to sustainable solutions will save them money, primary corporations are not interested. His message may sound slightly pessimistic; however I can validate from our own experience thusfar that it is the smaller privately-owned {soulful!} companies that have made true commitments to sustainability, even if it costs a few extra pennies per shipment.

It probably doesn't surprise you to hear that in most industrialized nations, it is far more affordable to purchase products made from recycled sources! Yup -- we are behind the times compared to the lion's share of the world with industrial-level recycling. Common sense tells us that it is more efficient and effective to recover used raw materials than it is to extract and refine new petroleum and grow and ax fresh trees. However, until there is more demand for recycled materials in the US, virgin ingredients will continue to be more affordable. Why? Well, it's that whole supply-demand principal we snoozed through in high school. Our recycled raw materials and products are produced in small batches, and small runs in manufacturing come at a premium price. Coupled with government subsidization of the petroleum and forestry industries, corporate America has less incentive to opt for ecologically sound products...a quite frustrating -- and unsettling -- reality.

The good news? Thankfully, we are supported by thousands of real eco-thumping small businesses that do more than just talk the talk and are willing to part with a few extra pennies, if need be, to invest in sustainability.

Even better news? We do our absolute best to keep our prices as competitive as possible. Our margins are so sadly low that we have {only half-jokingly} considered converting to a non-profit. In the end, we believe in what we do; we know that you want choice and that our planet needs a concerted environmentally-conscientious option! At the end of the day, our compensation comes in the satisfaction of getting to know you, your awe-inspiring company, and working in partnership with you toward a higher cause.

The best news of all?!? We have several win-win solutions today that are green AND will save you money. We've compared the pricing of our super green eco-varieties to those available from the largest {and not-so-green} packaging distributor in North America.

**the following saves you skrill and earns you responsible brownie points**

100% Recycled Poly Mailers
88% Recycled Poly Mailers
100% Recycled Rigid Mailers
100% Recycled Literature Mailers
100% Recycled OPF Box
100% Recycled Tab Locking Box
100% Recycled Paper Rolls
100% Recycled Clear Bags
100% Recycled Tray

The above products would be thrilling to even Mr. Wonderful as they promise to solve a problem and fatten the wallet simultaneously. With over 3 million pizzas packaged each year in the US alone, we can only hope that the fresh media attention and forthcoming consumer pressure will be enough for the big pizza chains to part with a half a penny per pizza for the sake of conservation. Lets turn up the heat on all the big corporations and request that they make an authentic move towards packaging sustainability!

Oh -- and the other lesson learned from this episode of Shark Tank is that the average cell phone carries more bacteria than a public toilet.  Good to know and eww!

Happy Shipping!
Erin Kimmett
CEO & Founder