Host Amy Koonin Taylor sits down with Sandra Ann Harris, founder of ECOlunchbox, a fellow B Corp firmly planted on the front lines in the fight against single-use plastics. Helping all of us reduce plastic waste beyond the school halls, Harris and her team have created a line of lunchroom products that are both sleek and sustainable.
Harris is the author of the book Say Goodbye to Plastic: A Survival Guide for Plastic Free Living where she doles out tips and tricks for saving our marine life and most precious resources.
On measuring the impact of plastic-free products:
SANDRA ANN HARRIS: “Some people naturally are environmentalists and their hearts just light up and they want to activate around living a plastic-free lifestyle. And I know that we’ll talk about that. Other people are more interested in their pocketbooks and saving money. Other people are really focused on global warming and aren’t so interested in litter. So what we try to do at ECOlunchbox and given that I have this background in investigative journalism, and I know how to put together data, measure, and tell a story with the data, we measure what we do.”
On the popularity of plastic-free products:
SANDRA ANN HARRIS: “A lot of people think that it’s going to be more expensive to purchase reusable containers like our ECOlunchboxes, in lieu of a plastic container that would have a short reusable span, or single-use plastics. But if you really look at it and sharpen your pencil, that’s not true. So when my kids were little, they packed their own lunches in reusable containers and we had a lot of people coming over to check out what they were up to because at that time, ECOlunchbox was first to market in this category of plastic-free stainless steel food containers. People had never seen that in the lunchroom. They thought it was pretty bizarre but now I think it’s more popular.”
On the motivation behind their recent B Corp Certification:
SANDRA ANN HARRIS: “Oh, it just means the world to me to be a B Corp. When I started ECOlunchbox I had the opportunity to be in an accelerator program through the Dominican University in San Rafael and it was called Venture Greenhouse. So they started this Venture Greenhouse program to bring together mission-based entrepreneurs and I was just so lucky to be chosen and all my advisors they just kept saying ‘Sandra, you really do need to pick whether you want to focus on helping people say goodbye to plastic and the mission aspect of your business, or whether you really want to make money and you want to be a real business.’ But I have to tell you, it’s not easy to be an entrepreneur, especially a self-funded entrepreneur and that mission has been the heartbeat of what we have been doing since 2008. And we wouldn’t be here today if I didn’t feel so passionate about the mission and now being a B Corp and having that certification, it just means a lot to me.”
On advice for a budding female entrepreneur:
SANDRA ANN HARRIS: “Believe, believe, believe, and just keep putting one foot in front of the other and don’t expect that experts are going to come in and solve problems, especially if you’re working on a sticky problem that hasn’t been solved before. Trust your own wisdom.”
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Amy Koonin Taylor is Marketing Content and Media Manager at Rubicon. To stay ahead of Rubicon’s announcements of new partnerships and collaborations around the world, be sure to follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter, or contact us today.