In 2017 my buddy Pj and I launched etee after many hikes along the plastic littered shoreline of Lake Ontario and 16 months of product development.
Develop innovative solutions to our growing plastic problem.
The day I told my wife I was going to 'quit my day job' and embark on this mission, she was days away from giving birth to our second boy - Huck Reble.
Seems like an odd time to launch a business? It was, but sometimes you gotta double down.
I think the same is true of our plastic problem. It's a world wide epidemic where even our Great Lakes (right here in Canada and the US) are treated as a garbage disposal. More than 22 Million pounds of plastic are dumped into those lakes each year!
If we - that's you and me - don't commit in a big way our planet will never be the same.
Change can happen fast though, just look at us, we launched etee on a line of credit and a lot of sleepless nights, but in only 2 years we helped etee customers eliminate over 100 Million pieces of single use plastic. Now imagine what would happen if we all jumped on board - backed new ideas, voted with our dollars for companies we trust - and doubled down on daily actions.
I hope when Huck and Joe (my boys) look back in 20 years, instead of bemoaning the loss of our wilderness, they might be inspired to make an even bigger change in their own life.
Below are some of the products we developed in the last two years, feel free to shoot me an email - firstname.lastname@example.org - if you have any questions or just feel like connecting.
Our First Product - A New Take on Beeswax Foodwraps
We found the traditional beeswax wrap to be too stiff and hard to easily wrap on bowls, so we developed a modern version that is easier to wrap and seal by blending essential oils and other plant based waxes with the traditional beeswax and tree-resin formula. Our wraps can be reused for a year or more, they really do keep food fresh and they fully biodegrade. Oh... and we also have a vegan version.
Our Second Product - Beeswax Foodbags
When we designed our beeswax foodbags, we wanted to make sure you could seal the top of the bags with as much ease as traditional plastic 'zippy' bags. It took a while to figure out a water resistant formula that locked in freshness, but with time and many iterations, we figured it out. Like our wraps, our bags last a year or more and are made with organic Beeswax, plant waxes, tree resins, essential oils and jojoba oil.
The Future of Dish Soap?
When we started making our beeswax foodwraps and bags, the conversation went something like this:
Customer: How do you wash these things?
Us: With an eco-friendly dish soap!
Customer: But where can I get such a dish soap?
Us: Ummm. let me get back to you on that one...
You see, most ‘eco friendly’ dish soaps have three major problems:
- They are packaged in plastic bottles, and since only 8% of plastic is actually recycled and plastic never really decomposes, plastic bottles don’t seem very ‘eco friendly’.
- Dish soap is 90% water, which means we are basically packaging and shipping water around the country - burning carbon - when virtually everyone has water in their home.
- They contain artificial Suds using SLS: Most Dish Soaps - even top ‘eco brands’ - contain SLS, which doesn’t ‘clean’ your dishes, it just makes more suds. According to the David Suzuki Foundation SLS is “... toxic to aquatic organisms.”
So…. we set out to solve these problems with our own Liquid Dish Soap. It almost broke us, but in the end, it was worth it. Read more about the development process here.
Plastic-Free Scouring Pads
Until we made these I only used those green and yellow - vinyl - scouring sponges. And over the weeks and months I’d see them wear down, shedding teeny micro plastics down my drain and, I’m guessing, they would end up in the Great Lakes.
Ever seen those scouring pads made of walnuts? They decompose in commercial composts, but our studies suggest the micro plastics that break off them while you wash your dishes will not decompose, they'll act like any other plastic, adding to the ever growing plastics in our water table.
Now we have a scouring sponge that really works AND as it starts to break down, the only thing that goes down the drain is Loofah - a tough cucumber - totally biodegradable and natural. This was an exciting advance because we believe our pads are the only ones that won't leach micro plastics.
Brush Your Teeth - Clean Our Planet
The bamboo toothbrush was a great first step in the fight against plastic. But when you're done with that bamboo toothbrush, the same problem remains, you just throw it out.
So we thought, what if you could cut the waste in half and reduce the shipping weight and packaging by separating the bristle ‘head’ from the toothbrush handle. And that’s just what we did!
Pretty cool right?
We LOVE incremental innovation - small changes that (on a global scale) could have a BIG impact.
Our bristles are 100% plant based, but like all brushes currently on the market, they are not biodegradable... yet. Stay tuned, we are working on biodegradable bristles next.
And of course, let's think about toothpaste. Crazy plastic waste, right? So we have developed 'chew-paste' in both natural and fluoride versions. It performs as well as the tube version, but without the plastic waste. (Stay tuned, this one arrives in January 2020).
Plastic-Free Living for EVERYONE
So there you have it. In just 2 years we've helped our customers eliminate over 100 Million pieces of single use plastic AND we've developed several new one-of-a-kind PLASTIC-FREE products that have just hit the 'inter-webs'. Is this a not-so-veiled humble-brag? Maybe, but I'm just really proud of what our team and our growing tribe of plastic-free customers (now over 150,000 and growing every day) has managed in such a short time. It just shows that sometimes you gotta take a big swing at the bat and trust that if it comes from the right place, good things will follow.
Now we just need to spread the word. Want to get involved? Check out our plastic free club and join our VIP squad of like-minded plastic-free avengers.
Over and oot.