Five Startups Vied for Spotlight at Greener by Design Event



Rapioli isn’t a new-fangled pasta, and Trula is not a women’s clothing line. But they are both innovative products that were among five entrants in the Innovator’s Showcase segment of this week’s Greener by Design conference in San Francisco.
Rapioli is made by a startup called Innovation 2 Industry and it provides a reusable packaging solution for closed-loop shipping applications (meaning items are shipped repeatedly between point a and b). The packaging is made of recycled PET (RPET) plastic and designed so that it can be shipped without any additional, external packaging. The system is available in four different sizes (ranging from 9 by 12 inches to 12 by 18 inches) and is comprised of a tray, that holds the goods being shipped, and two “pillow” enclosures, which wrap the goods in sturdy plastic and also provide cushioning. (More details here.)

Trula is a composite material derived from agricultural waste and other sustainable products. It is designed as an alternative to concrete and wood for applications ranging from road surfaces to countertops. It has been made into pavers, curbs, barrier strips (think of the bumpy plastic runners along subways platforms) and kitchen countertops. Because it’s a small firm and seeking expansion, it’s willing to do custom projects.
Ecologic Designs is an OEM that uses repurposed un-recyclable materials ranging from inner tubes to old billboard banners to trash-bound wetsuits to create bags, wallets and accessories. The company’s approach to extending the lifecycle of materials is similar to that of TerraCycle, but its scale is much smaller; and rather than paying consumers to send used materials into Ecologic Design, the company sets up reclamation stations at places such as bike shops where the waste materials collect. Also, the end products seem more rugged (and hip, in my humble opinion). Also, while TerraCycle products carry the TerraCycle brand, Ecologic Designs makes goods for private labels.
Re-Tread Products is another up-cycler, but it uses old tires as base material. And rather than making consumer products, Re-Tread targets more industrial applications such as retaining walls (including levee walls) and boat ramps. It is even developing a tire-derived building material that it claims would improve the seismic stability of structures.
Greenheart Global is a sustainable product development and manufacturing company whose inaugural designs are aimed at improving the sustainability of an everyday by highly under-evolved product: clothes hangers. Dubbed Ditto Hangers, they are made of either recycled paper or PET plastic. Greenheart is targeting the products at retail clothing companies, dry cleaners, and hospitality companies. And unlike traditional hangers, the Ditto products are also recyclable. The designs are pretty cool, too. Check them out here and here.

Freelance writer Mary Catherine O'Connor finds that a growing number of companies are proving the ways that they can make good financially, socially and environmentally (as the triple bottom line theory suggests).With that in mind, she contributes to Triple Pundit, as well as to Earth2Tech and other pubs focused on sustainability. She also writes The Good Route, an Outside Magazine blog that addresses the intersection of sustainability and the active/outdoor life.To find out more, or to reach her, go to

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