There`s something special about innovative products made of recycled materials that are created by people challenged to turn their eco-convictions into a business.
Especially when those products are Colorado-produced goods, because that kind of industry supports our economy, keeps more of us employed, and keeps our landfills from growing.
So, if you’re looking for ways to make that buck count, here are a few cool local small businesses to check into — and there’s more out there, even in this zombie economy, that I’ll be keeping you updated about in the future.
David Jenkins, Cody McAllister and Dario Barcena Menendez met at the Boulder architecture firm where they worked, and they stayed friends when they went their separate ways.
They continue to share their evolving dreams, one of which is to buy a campground together and put their own Modular Based Design (MBD) cabins on it.
To achieve that dream, they’re designing and selling finished, smallscale MBD structures for, well, just about any purpose you can think of. And they’re mostly made out of recycled beetle-kill pine processed in Colorado.
These small, practical buildings are a light year away from the standard mass-produced shed. Want something good-looking and built to last in a nice garden house, a kids’ playhouse, recreation room, cabana, kiosk or some other small building? Nothing’s too humble to ask about.
“We did a chicken coop not long ago,” says Jenkins. “It’s whatever people want.”
The business name stands for reduce, reuse, recycle, repurpose — all of it. Boulder siblings Leslie Whiteside, Ashleigh Hitchcock and Teena Kendrick call themselves “the scrap sisters.” Kendrick has a jewelry line.
Graphic designer/photojournalist Whiteside and Hitchcock, the seamstress/clothing designer, concentrate on turning “unsaveables” into “really cool things.”
“We started as do-ityourselfers with things we could find at ReSource,” says Whiteside. “I love metal welding now!” You can see many of their items at Boulder stores Joyful Furniture, Invironments and Jacque Michelle. There are children’s books and bingo cards turned into journals, horseshoes upholstered in vintage ties to “recover your luck,” and old suitcases remade into spiffy pet beds.
Heather English had a geology degree, a boring job, and a yen for a stylish, eco-friendly, vegan handbag. Floating down Boulder Creek one day gave her an idea — to make a purse using rivets and inner tube material.
By 2002, English had a business turning out accessories such as handbags, wallets, briefcases and more, made from old inner tubes and keen design.
“I always felt I didn’t have much artistic ability,” says English. “Guess it just had to come out somehow.”
English gets her material from Boulder truck stops. She figures her business has spared landfills something like 79,000 cubic feet of non-degradable material.
Know of a business in Boulder County that uses a hefty portion of recycled materials in its products? Drop an e-mail to email@example.com with Boulderganic in the subject line.