eco ramblings

a dialogue with an Eco Patriot

Archive for the ‘innovation’ Category

Eco Entrepreneur of the Week

Posted by Luke on October 27, 2010

Here’s a hell of an invention… imagine having a small machine in your garage next to your garbage can that converts plastic to gasoline.  That’s right, instead of throwing all those plastic candy wrappers, bags, and odd-shaped containers into your trash can, put them into this contraption and watch it make fuel for your car.

The Blest Machine, made in Japan, costs approximately $9,500 and is only sold in Japan right now.  If this thing really works and they can prove the concept effectively, you’ve got to imagine that we’ll start seeing some of these machines being used by recyclers and even home owners in the coming decade.  Put me on the waiting list.





Posted in entrepreneur, innovation, plastics, recycling, trash | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Do you really need oil in your paper cup?

Posted by Luke on October 15, 2010

Here’s a great little video that our talented creative team produced.  Most people don’t realize that the majority of paper cups are lined with plastic made from oil.

Posted in compostable products, corn, cups, environmental products, hot cups, innovation, plastics, renewable resources, Video, World Art Cups | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Eco Entreprenuerial Idea of the Week

Posted by Luke on August 27, 2010

I love reading about entrepreneurs who creatively solve problems with sustainable business ideas.  The latest example I read about is a Minneapolis company called Eureka Recycling.  This non-profit company partnered with their city government to pilot a 1,100 residential curbside composting pickup program… using their bikes.

Eureka employees ride around with custom-built trailers attached to their bikes and pick up compostables.  Impressive!  Talk about zero emission waste hauling.  What I’m wondering, though, is how long it takes to pickup the waste from all 1,100 households.  They must make a lot of trips.  Sounds like a great job to ride your bike all day.  But what happens in winter?

Posted in composting, green jobs, innovation, sustainability | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

A Groupon-like Business Focused on Doing Good

Posted by Luke on July 19, 2010

A startup called Bolder just launched a Groupon-like site that encourages people to do something positive.  Every few days there’s a new challenge that offers rewards for doing things like buying local, riding your bike instead of driving, or picking up a piece of litter.  Sponsoring businesses offer discounts on products for people who participate in the Bolder challenge.  Checkout this article for more info, or the company’s website at

Posted in innovation, startup | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

Eco Entrepreneurs

Posted by Luke on July 15, 2010

I love reading about ambitious entrepreneurs with a passion to make a positive difference in the world.  When they see an opportunity, they build a business.  The “same old” doesn’t suffice for them.  They solve problems.  They put their careers on the line.  They put their money where their mouth is.  And they often do so without looking for a big financial payout.

The kind of entrepreneur I’m referring to isn’t all about taking their company public or hitting a big pay-day through an acquisition.  They are all about making a lasting difference.  They create jobs.  There’s a big place for them in the economy.  They deserve appreciation and thanks for taking a risk.  Here’s the latest eco entrepreneur I just came across…

29-year old John-Paul Maxfield started a compost hauling service in Denver.  He bought an old box truck and slowly convinced restaurant by restaurant to pay him to take away their food waste.  He’s competing against the uber-cheap trash hauling giants like Waste Management.  John-Paul recognizes that he’s starting out small, but he has a plan and a vision on how to expand his services.  His goal is to create regionally-located urban farms that process food waste and other compostables, and then to sell the fresh compost as value-added fertilizer in those local markets.  Read more here…

Posted in composting, innovation | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Sustainability Partnerships Between the Public and Private Sectors

Posted by Luke on June 15, 2010

Sustainability movements, and zero waste in particular, are most effective when there’s a partnership between the public and private sectors.  Yellowstone National Park has established one of the best examples of a public-private sector partnership I’ve ever seen.

I met Jim Evanoff from the National Parks Service last week.  Jim is one of the most senior people in the National Parks Service and manages all things environment at Yellowstone.  Yellowstone has achieved an 80% waste diversion rate through public and private partnerships.  Although Eco-Products’ foodservice items are part of the equation, there’s a lot more involved in that 80% number.

The park draws over 3.3 million visitors every year staying in 2,000 hotel rooms with a staff of 5,000 workers servicing them.  With that many people, the only way they’ve continued to increase the waste diversion rate year over year is by leveraging resources they don’t have.  For materials they couldn’t previously recycle, they built recycling systems.  For example, they worked with universities and private companies to build the first ever propane tank recycling machine.  By partnering with these organizations, they’ve created a business in and of itself that can now divert propane tanks from landfills at every campsite in the country.   Yellowstone alone now diverts 25,000 propane tanks a year.

In the communities like this in which sustainability has taken hold, there has typically been a strong collaboration between businesses and government.  Businesses can invest resources and brand equity among other things.  Governments can implement sustainability regulations and policies.  When both parties work in unison towards similar objectives, rapid progress towards systemic sustainability will occur.

Posted in innovation, sustainability, zero waste | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Boulder’s Entrepreneurial Ecosystem

Posted by Luke on May 15, 2010

For all of the stereotypes that exist about Boulder (see “25 Miles Surrounded by Reality”), it’s a great place to locate a company.  It’s commonly referred to as the mecca of both the natural products and smart grid industries.  It has also quickly become a haven for tech startups.

I recently heard about an award the city won from Business Week magazine.  Boulder was named the “Best Town for Startups.”  Way to go Boulder.  There are some groups in town that deserve recognition for making this happen.

Of those groups are a couple of progressive VCs such as Greenmont Capital Partners and The Foundry Group who are investing in building an entrepreneurial community.  Clearly it’s paying off.  They are doing things such as developing entrepreneurial activities at CU, hosting events to connect entrepreneurs with VCs, and creating programs such as TechStars and Startup Weekend.  The Foundry Group was recently featured on the cover of the business section of the New York Times for their work in developing Boulder into a startup hub.

Another group that has played an instrumental role in developing the entrepreneurial community here is the Boulder Innovation Center.  They do a lot of work with tech transfer startups from CU.  To all of these groups and the numerous others who have built Boulder’s vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem, thank you.  It’s incredible to be a part of and to live in a community like this.  I can’t imagine Eco-Products being located anywhere else.

I’ll close this post with a few other awards Boulder has won which speaks to what a great place it is to work and live.  You can tell I like it here.

  • #2 Healthiest Town in the U.S. by Men’s Health (2010)
  • #1 Strongest U.S. Housing Market by Business Week (2009)
  • #1 City to Raise an Outdoor Kid by Backpacker Magazine (2009)
  • #1 Town to Live Well by Forbes (2009)
  • #1 Most Educated City in America by Forbes (2008)
  • #5 Best Green Places to Live by Country Home Magazine (2008)

Posted in awards, Boulder, innovation | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Get in My Belly

Posted by Luke on March 24, 2010

I was walking down the street in Philly on Wednesday and came across a really innovate product called the Big Belly Solar Compactor.  It’s a solar powered trash can that compacts garbage thereby reducing hauling requirements and space.  Essentially, whenever you deposit trash, it compacts it.  The City of Philadelphia will save $13 million over 10 years by deploying 500 of these machines in replacement of 700 normal trash containers. 

Posted in innovation, trash | 1 Comment »

%d bloggers like this: