When I graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with my degree in Conservation of Natural Resources, I couldn’t have been more excited about what lay ahead. The Clean Air and Clean Water Acts were less than a decade old; Love Canal and the gas crisis of the 70s were still fresh in everyone’s memory. It seemed the entire Country was ready to accept personal participation in the stewardship of the environment in which we all live. And it was the perfect time for an idealist from Berkeley to enter the energy conservation industry.
After spending 6 years in the industry (including two years with Jerry Mix at Watt Watcher, which has become the incredibly successful Watt Stopper) and becoming a charter member of the since evaporated Association of Professional Energy Managers, I became disillusioned with the sinking priority of energy conservation in the business community. By the end of the 80s, smart resource management to reduce costs in corporate America was shoved to the back burner. So, as any twenty something with aspirations would; I moved on.
When my wife Debbie and I founded Shoreline in 1995, there were no options we could find for environmentally friendly materials to make the bags we wanted to make. So we went forward with what was available. Over the years, though, individuals in the fabric supply chain have worked to make things differently. Organic cotton and hemp have become practical “industrial” (non-apparel) fabrics. Then we found a couple of suppliers making one or two fabrics from recycled PET #1 (water and soda bottles). With that discovery, we found our material and the entire concept of our Act 2, the second act for our Company, came to life.
Although we could have opted to make a couple of items that were Green, like many other companies have done, that seemed to me to be considerably short of the commitment we could make. It seemed akin to making products with 20% recycled content when you could make them of 100% recycled content. We decided if the materials were available, which they are, then our commitment would need to be across the board. From our decision in Spring 2007, by fall of 2007, the first act2 products will start to arrive in stores.
Are the materials more expensive than virgin materials? Well, yes. Not all environmental costs are borne with virgin materials, yet, all the collection/transportation/processing costs are captured in recycled material. With act2 there is a real savings of material to landfills and a net saving of Btus in material processing to make yarn. Otherwise, weaving fabric from yarn takes the same amount of energy. But, we felt, to quote Ed Begley “you’re not really recycling unless you’re buying recycled”. So, now Shoreline is buying recycled for act2.
We’ve done all we can to make the message of act2consistent with the makeup of act2. All bags are outside, inside and padding 100% recycled. Inside of all bags is a bright green interior with our stylized recycle logo so consumers consistently feel good about their green purchase. For those interested, our website will itemize the savings of every item we make. We’ll periodically update the number of bottles and Btus act2has saved overall. We’ll provide links to all kinds of recycling education and environmental groups which have a component of recycling in their mission.
Most of all, we need you. To make a difference, the message of act2 needs to be heard and circulated. Whatever one’s perspective on Global Climate Change, we can all agree that less landfill is good, and less energy consumed to make products makes sense, too. Please participate in keeping our website up to date—make suggestions, voice concerns, introduce us to others who are working on this message.
Most of all, be patient as we re-invent Shoreline to act2. We’ve committed to complete the process by the end of 2008, which we’ll accomplish. Most things good, take a little time. Together, we’ll bring resources from all around the world together for the simple reason that ……………. if we can, why wouldn’t we.
Here's our interim website while we go through our extended transition. www.shorelineact2.com