Recycling tires and what is Bolder Black?
A sustainable alternative to traditional carbon black produced recycling tires that would otherwise be placed in landfills or incinerated.
My first taste of entrepreneurship with my first job out of college and I worked for a guy who had invented voicemail. And he was an Indiana guy who came back home to invest in a series of companies, and I was working directly for him in one of those companies.
Following your passion
One of those customers turned out to be in the medical device industry and offered me a job in a startup company. I learned a lot about products, services, and feeding a market, but more importantly, I learned about following some passions. It was in the women’s healthcare space, and waking up in the morning and knowing that when you wake up and every patient you see has a better outcome and a better day because of it, you want to work a little harder, put a few more hours on the road, just get that extra patient because every single patient you touched had a better situation.
The goal, the mandate was take waste products, generate more power than we need, reduce water usage from traditional methods, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, reduce landfilling, and create jobs in areas that are needed.
Our first real product
It is a product called Bolder Black. So our business is reclaiming tires, and also industrial rubber, and using our understanding and technology and manufacturing know-how and our trade secrets to understand how we create the ingredients to bake the cake for the end-product customer.
The first lesson in entrepreneurship
I learned there was no reason to spend excess money on anything ever. Lean operations win.
This is a production trial run for a company called Gates Rubber, which is the largest non-tire rubber manufacturer in the world. They’re based out of Denver, Colorado, which is wonderful. And we’re getting them to take a look at some of the stuff and they have a sustainability focus. They care. So if a company cares about the environment, cares about the people, cares about the future, which they do, they’ll try to work this in.
Tires disposed per year in the US
We could take every tire that’s disposed of in the United States, which is about 300 million tires a year, annually, to interject some scale. I was in a conference speaking and somebody raised their hand and said,” I heard the numbers are really like 350 million.
One seat at a time
This seat was important for a contractor to achieve an additional LEED credit. They were looking for additional LEED points in their contract to build a number of schools in a city in California, and one of the places to go was to furnishings that are put in here. And our Bolder Black worked with this particular seat. So there’s gonna be hundreds of thousands of these seats manufactured, using this product, to go into school systems.
One, the environmental impact of using our product versus other is pretty massive, so that’s a really good story for the world. We’re getting rid of some tires. That’s a great story for the world. And then, now this school system and this contractor now have access to LEED points that they did not had before, and that’s valuable to them from an optics and doing their job well perspective. And it actually really works. So it was a great example of us solving a problem that we didn’t even know really was a problem.
We wound up in a lot of places
- We didn’t know any different than to just call up to a local phone case manufacturer and say, “Hey, man. Look what we’ve got.” And they didn’t even know what carbon black was, because in their supply chain, it’s so far down. So there’s a lot of education.
- We’re talking some of the sustainability companies, so some of the major brands like Adidas, for example, who’s just launched their plastic shoes, right. They are on the cutting edge of sustainability and they care. Patagonia, cutting edge of sustainability. So, no one in our industrial world is actually talking to those products.
- So we’re meeting with people like Otter Box, Thule, Nike, Adidas, Patagonia, Mountain Standard. A lot of these companies, Gates Rubber and Johns Manville who have a sustainability focus. They care about this stuff.
I’ve got one facility permitted in England. We’re working with a group right now in Thailand to serve some Asian markets.
The best thing that could happen to us
People who want to collaborate on how do I reduce my greenhouse gas emissions? How do I reduce my water? How do I reduce the energy consumption in my supply chain? How do I make that happen for me?