Well Made

Ep. 105 Using Waste as Currency with Jeremy Lang

January 8, 2020 · RSS · Apple Podcasts

Phone cases don’t need to last a lifetime, but in a landfill, they might. Pela cases are made from a blend of biopolymers and flax scraps meant last a few years — basically, the lifetime of your phone. When you get a new device, you can compost the case or ship it back to Pela. As more and more consumers are choosing sustainable products, phone cases may not be obvious, but the impact is significant.

Jermey Lang founded Pela part-time, doing the initial research and development with government funding. Eight years later, they’re expanding to eyewear and other new products that are the right fit for their Flaxstic material. Hear how Pela developed Flaxstic and how they’re making a place for themselves in the responsibility economy.

“It has to be a great product, because if you're making a product that doesn't perform the function that it's made to, that is not sustainable.”

 Using Waste as Currency
 Using Waste as Currency
 Using Waste as Currency

On this episode, Stephan and Jeremy dive right into material science, sharing what Pela cases are made of (0:51). Jeremy shares the findings of an LCA (lifecycle analysis) that Pela just funded (6:54) and the future that the see for Flaxstic. Jeremy breaks down the Pela supply chain and shares why they recently brought manufacturing in house (9:46).

When faced with the complexity of the fragmented recovery infrastructure, Pela takes the path of the "responsibility economy." That is, being responsible for the end life of the products they create Jeremy shares the details behind their take-back program for customers who can't compost the cases (20:08). He also talks about how they test the cases to ensure that they perform well (24:11). He shares what it’s like to start a startup in Canada and the recent move to Vancouver (39:14). Finally, Jeremy looks beyond phone cases and shares plans for new products in the future (42:33).

Also mentioned on the show: 

Header image via Surfrider Foundation.

You can find this and all future episodes on iTunes, Google Play, and here on the Lumi blog. This episode was edited by Evan Goodchild.

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