Social entrepreneurs go there

The resurgence of COVID. Forest fires in the west, Afghanistan. Traffic jam in Washington. Drought. Hurricanes. Wickedness at all levels, from the personal to the political.

The list of depressing phenomena that strike us daily is simply overwhelming. No wonder there is a mental health crisis plaguing so many of us.

I am not proposing an alternative vision of the world in pink, but it is important to point out that there are good actors in this crazy world who should give us all hope for the future. It is encouraging to meet examples of entrepreneurs trying to harness the power of business to create a better world.

Here are three examples:

In August OneLife, an innovative San Francisco-based health technology company committed to creating technologies that save lives while protecting the planet, has launched OneLife X, which they believe is the most efficient air purifier in the world. world, on Indiegogo. Amid growing concerns about air quality caused by the pandemic and the growing trend of record-breaking wildfires, the team designed OneLife X to purify the smallest particles that other filters often miss while being particularly durable with a washable filter for life. In addition to requiring very little energy to purify the air, OneLife X is made from fast growing bamboo and recycled plastics.

In Australia, a husband-and-wife team is trying to reduce reliance on single-use plastic trash bags by offering consumers the TOMbag, a reusable trash bag made from recycled plastic water bottles.

As Sasha and Jonathan Pestano describe: “TOMbag’s mission is to rid the world of single-use trash bags with our sustainable and reusable alternatives. We believe that small changes by many are the real catalyst for changing the world – for good. “

Without a doubt, TOMbag has huge challenges ahead. On a personal level, reusing a trash bag is a complicated business and the initial cost of purchasing a TOM bag is substantial (the large bag costs $ 58 plus shipping – compared to good disposables. At the systems level, many municipalities currently require that waste be disposed of or in plastic bags (TOM bags are empty in trash cans for collectors to take away.)

Speaking of recycling, industrial designer Sasha Plotitsa has started a social enterprise that turns construction debris into furniture – and employs formerly incarcerated people to create it.

A visit to the Formr website reveals a range of beautiful items such as chairs, side tables, shelves and chandeliers. While raw materials can be rubbish, Formr products don’t come cheap. The purchase of their products is an investment in the story of their creation.

“We know that people released from prison need opportunities,” says Formr. “Many companies choose not to hire formerly incarcerated people, but we believe in giving people hope for a successful new start and a second chance.

“The good” doesn’t stop there. Over 500 million tonnes of construction debris is generated in the United States each year. If we can divert even a small percentage of trash from overflowing landfills and use it to make “cool stuff”, why not? We create relationships with entrepreneurs to have access to the sites. Then we sort through the debris and bring the best materials back to our store. After removing nails and other hardware, we clean the material and begin manufacturing. It’s quite a process.

Time will tell if any of these companies achieve lasting financial success, but it is heartening to see these talented and creative people around the world diving head first into the effort to tackle some of the big issues plaguing our planet. troubled. God knows we need it.

About Christian M.

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