INSPIRED IMPACT :: Jessica Hogan | Bolder Industries
INSPIRED IMPACT is an ongoing blog series that gives voice to mission-driven organizations and passionate leaders and entrepreneurs who are making an impact in their communities and industries.
WHAT DO YOU DO?
We’re on a mission to divert the most waste from landfills than any other single effort over the next 10 years. We know this can be achieved by creating sustainable products from waste using advanced manufacturing and innovative technologies. Our charter product is Bolder Black™,a sustainable alternative to virgin carbon black…a material that’s virtually all around us because it’s used in most rubber and plastics products. We produce Bolder Black because virgin carbon black and scrap tires present two major environmental problems that can be solved with this one solution.
WHY DO YOU DO IT?
We do it because we know advanced manufacturing driven by technology can solve an environmental problem that seems insurmountable — global waste. We do it because there are vast amounts of usable resources locked away in common waste streams like tires. Finally, we do it because we know there is a market need and desire for sustainable materials that we can meet and that results in a net benefit across the board.
WHAT IMPACT ARE YOU MAKING?
More than 300 million tires enter the waste stream every year in the US, the majority of which are incinerated for fuel, tossed into landfills, or illegally dumped. All three of these tire disposal options are environmental hazards. Bolder Black diverts tires from landfills and reuses 98% of the tire while our proprietary production process emits 90% less CO2e and uses 90% less water than traditional methods….all while maintaining a net energy positive facility. By incorporating Bolder Black in their supply chain, we help companies meet their sustainability goals while stabilizing their raw materials costs.
WHAT (OR WHO) INSPIRES YOU TO MAKE THIS IMPACT?
Bolder Industries was born out of frustration with the status quo in regards to recycling waste streams. Tony Wibbeler, our CEO, formerly operated a landfill in Florida where he witnessed incredible resources being needlessly buried in the earth. He also saw very quickly that recycling efforts are outdated and much less effective than the public is led to believe. Tony’s attention was drawn first to waste tires—knowing that there were valuable materials used in the creation of tires, he set out to find ways to reclaim those materials.
WHAT’S YOUR BIG DREAM FOR THE ORGANIZATION AND THE IMPACT YOU WANT TO MAKE?
Our big dream is to lead the way in waste-to-value by identifying new products that can be derived from other massive waste streams such as wood, poop, etc. Front-end sustainability efforts (such as solar panels on a building) are important but exponential environmental impact is found in the supply chain by incorporating materials like Bolder Black — and Bolder Black is just the tip of the iceberg. We have more products coming.
WHAT RESOURCES DO YOU NEED TO MAKE THOSE DREAMS COME TRUE?
Primarily we need more customers in the rubber and plastics manufacturing sector. It’s an industry with extremely entrenched sales channels and often rigorous and time-consuming testing and trials to have Bolder Black approved for use in rubber products (hoses, belts, gaskets, etc.). Consumer brands that have sustainability goals like Otterbox here in Colorado, can sometimes be the tail that wags the dog, encouraging their rubber compounders to fast-track production trials using Bolder Black.
WHAT IS (OR HAS BEEN) YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGE?
Reclaimed carbon black has been around for some time and has typically failed as a viable substitute for virgin carbon black because producers paid little attention to the needs of the customer. It was a critical mistake that’s left a negative perception of reclaimed carbon black and slows down interest and consideration of Bolder Black. However, we’ve approached the market in the complete opposite way and it shows…we’re in the last stages of production trials with several big names and one of the largest rubber manufacturers in the US. They’re astounded at how well Bolder Black has performed and saying what we already know…it’s essentially the same as the original.
WHAT WORDS OF ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR OTHER LEADERS LOOKING TO MAKE AN IMPACT?
Get involved at a local, regional and state level and find ways to work together because of course, there’s power in numbers. We’re fortunate to have made our home in one of the most sustainably-focused areas of the country and are a part of fantastic organizations like CCIA (Colorado Cleantech Industries Association) and a thriving B-Corp community (Bolder Industries attained B-Corp certification in 2016). Wherever you are, seek out the organizations, investors, customers and channel partners with similar goals and work openly and honestly to propel each other forward.
HOW CAN OTHERS SUPPORT YOU OR YOUR CAUSE?
Carbon black is a hidden raw material — even the most versed sustainability officers in manufacturing may not know that it’s inside their rubber, plastics or paint products and that there is a sustainable alternative, Bolder Black, that can help achieve their goals. So, we need the manufacturing sector to learn more about carbon black and Bolder Black, look into it, talk to your suppliers and ask about it…help us get the word out.
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