LAFAYETTE, Calif., Aug. 4, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- In a bid to expand its mission to provide plastic-free lunchware that's healthy for people and the planet, a small eco mom business based in California has launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise $30,000.
The purpose of the funding is to bring to market the Blue Water Bento collection, an innovative new line of lunch containers that combine no-leak silicone lids with non-toxic stainless steel bottoms.
Sandra Ann Harris, founder and president of ECOlunchbox, first sought funding for this first-to-market project from angel investors, but when they turned her down she decided to turn to crowdfunding instead.
"We've been hearing from our customers they really want a lunch container that doesn't leak - and doesn't have any plastic. They want the best of both worlds - non toxic and no leaking," Harris explained. "It's costly to fund the design, molds and other start-up costs for a new product line. There are high minimums, too. I really wanted to meet the needs of families seeking these products that are healthy for people and the planet, so I've decided to take our funding needs to the streets via Kickstarter."
So far the Kickstarter campaign has received an enthusiastic response, with ECOlunchbox raising $10,000 in the first few days.
Access to capital for small business owners, including social entrepreneurs, is difficult. Despite the talk of impact investing, mission-driven consumer products businesses like ECOlunchbox are not generally considered attractive investment opportunities for angel investors because their focus is not purely on profitability. ECOlunchbox seeks profit, but it also has two other bottom lines: people and planet.
"I'm a social entrepreneur," Harris explained. "My background is investigative journalism and humanitarian aid. What makes me tick is making change, and that's what we're doing at ECOlunchbox lunch by lunch. We've sold more than a quarter million lunchboxes so far and averted the use and disposal of 10s of millions of pieces of plastic trash. All this started on my kitchen table and we've been scaling our impact little by little. But we need the love and financial support of the public to continue our work bringing new products to market."
The company was invited to Washington D.C. in March 2015 to share its planet impact at an event hosted by Reps. Mike Honda (D) of San Jose and Sam Farr (D) of Carmel. The congressmen are sponsoring legislation to reduce marine debris and exploring opportunities to support companies, like ECOlunchbox, that are working on reducing the plastic pollution problem.
The company announced in Washington D.C. the results of a study showing its positive environmental impact. ECOlunchbox's carbon footprint analysis was calculated using the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Waste Reduction Model. The weight of the lunchtime trash averted through the use of the company's stainless steel lunchboxes was converted into a greenhouse gas equivalent using the U.S. EPA's online tool.
In everyday terms, the company's annual positive impact on global warming is estimated to be equivalent to offsetting the greenhouse gas emissions from more than 5 million miles driven by passenger vehicles or 2.5 million pounds of coal burned, according to the results of the study.
ECOlunchbox's stainless steel and silicone containers, including the new Blue Water Bento collection on Kickstarter, are eco-friendly because they reduce use of plastics, which is a petroleum-based product that usually contains estrogen-mimicking chemicals like BPA (bisphenol-A). Furthermore, plastic is perilous to the planet because it's accumulating in the oceans, breaking down over time into micro fragments that are ingested by wildlife.
"It's great to know our planet impact adds up significantly," said Harris, a Lafayette, Calif. mother of two who started the company in 2009. "We've known we're making change lunch by lunch, but the scope of our positive impact amazed even me!"
As a socially responsible company, ECOlunchbox's mission is to help people reduce their use of plastic food containers by providing non-toxic, stainless steel lunchboxes that are healthy for people and the planet.
"We're off to a great start with our Kickstarter," Harris said, "but we've still got tens of thousands of dollars to raise! We're really hoping that people will jump in and back us, which essentially means placing pre-orders for our new products at great early bird prices. It's a win-win for ECOlunchbox and our backers."
CONTACT INFO AND SUPPORTING INFORMATION
For more information about the company's Kickstarter campaign, please go to: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1329361238/blue-water-bento-ocean-friendly-lunchware
For more information about the study and methodology used to quantify ECOlunchbox's impact, please go to: http://ecolunchboxes.com/planet-impact/
A video, which tells the story of our social enterprise's mission, is available here: https://vimeo.com/124901932
925-298-9220 ext. 1.
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