Tal Chitayat has been producing sponges for the last decade from walnut and coconut shells. He’s bringing them, this year. Sponges at a marathon? Turns out thousands are used to help runners cool down. Unfortunately, these sponges are made from synthetic materials, namely virgin plastic.
So when 45,000 runners pass the”sponge channel” in the upcoming marathon in November, they’ll use a sponge to get a few mere seconds. But after that, they will be thrown on the ground, and then trashed.
Chitayat, co-founder and CEO of Full Circle Home, a firm making home products from recycled and natural materials, has run the marathon twice. He’s excited that his company gets to assist the town cut down to their wastage.
“It’s such a specific illustration of only one race in one city annually. Nonetheless, it produces waste that may take decades to break down. Just multiply that across the globe,” he states.
Chitayat started Full Circle home, tackling issues such as the average kitchen sponge, or dish brush, in 2009, soon. “It was an odd time to start a company, but we just realized that we needed to be a brand, focused on regular products that were being made from mostly new plastics in the time.”
He had been established in Taiwan afterward, designing and developing products for different brands. When he came across the creations in bio-plastics, which might function as alternatives to the petroleum-based virgin plastics, he was amazed that his customers had little attention. “No one really cared. And that has been disheartening however, it was the start of our company.”
Chitayat and Kauffman took the leap, relocating to the US where they began largely and leaving Asia. They had come across materials like coconut shells, walnut, walnuts .
“Every item, we argue, should consider sustainability into consideration. It’s crucial to think about where it comes from and where it’s headed,”
The duo began carrying their product, meeting stores, and going to trade shows. In 2011, they have a rest. Target agreed to home Full Circle Home in their shops. It looked like a success, he says, looking back. “But it didn’t market and we were away from the shelves within a year. It was a tough fact to digest.”
They were ahead of this curve, and before their time. Nowadays, Full Circle Home products are in the eco-friendly aisles of Whole Foods, but also places such as Lowe’s, Kroger, The Container Store, and back in Target. “We need to make this mass marketplace. And I don’t think we’re there yet. Yes, there are people caring about the environment in the last ten years, and talking about it. But it’s still not hit the masses,” he says.
If the sustainability movement is to become prosperous, Chitayat says that it’s up to brands to consumers with options. “Then only can customers vote with their wallets. Brands have to take the lead,” he states.
He’s also innovating. Practices, like composting, have yet to be adopted widely others whine about the scents. Full Circle would like to create these options more accessible for everybody. They’ve introduced compostable mulch bags, which have a vegetable-based lining, so that catches any liquids from dispersing, contain odors, but can be thrown out when full because they will break down combined with the organic matter within it. There’s also a compost bin to house this waste, whether it is something that you’d rather keep on the kitchen counter.
However, this all has to be design-forward. “These so-called sustainable products have to look equally as great, if not better, than their counterparts, and be priced affordably. We have to make it effortless for customers,” he says.