Waste is inevitable. As our population grows and global resources become more precious, reducing waste is a bigger imperative than ever - and more challenging. Fortunately, companies like Further Products are around to prove that with a bit of creative thinking and collaboration, eliminating waste cycles is not only possible, but in some cases so logical you're left wondering why we couldn't establish these systems sooner.
Long before it was hip, Further Products co-founder Marshall Dostal was driving a biodiesel-fueled car and bringing his own shopping bags to the market. For years, he would pick up depleted waste grease from local restaurants and convert it into biofuel inside of his family's garage, leaving huge drums of glycerin lying around (a byproduct of the biofuel distillation process).
This begged the question: What to do with all that glycerin? Since it happens to be the main ingredient in most soaps, the Dostals ran with the obvious answer. With the help a local Los Angeles lab, Marshall got to work purifying the glycerin to create high-quality soaps, while Megan designed packaging and helped develop Further's signature scent, derived from the oils of bergamot, olives and grasses - something both men and women would be comfortable using.
But the Dostals weren't content with simply creating an eco-conscious product. They took it one step further - hence the name - by selling it back to the same restaurants that provided the grease, closing a unique waste loop that allowed local restaurants and hotels, along with their customers, to actively participate in sustainability. These partnerships soon proved popular, and so Further Products was born.
Today, hundreds of restaurants, hotels, and retailers nationwide carry the couple's soap line, along with lotions and candles the Dostals also create from purified glycerin.
As for Marshall's biofuel? It now powers two family cars and one company truck, which is used to cart huge amounts of restaurant grease over to the Dostals' lab for soap creation. What makes the Further story so extraordinary is not just its zero-waste sustainability model - it's the fact that its growth hinges on inviting other businesses to be sustainable by meeting a specific need. As that web of relationships grows, everyone benefits—and so does the planet.
Every year at Natural Products Expo, editors and trend researchers from New Hope Network and Sterling-Rice Group scour the show floor to find the products and brands they predict will shape the future of the natural products industry. The best of the best receive NEXTY nominations, which recognize the companies that embody not only the most innovative edge of the natural products industry, but also its deeply held social and environmental values. www.nextknows.com