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Social Entrepreneur

328 EpisodesProduced by Tony LoydWebsite

Social Entrepreneur exists at the intersection of profit and purpose. We tell positive stories from underrepresented voices, focused on solutions.

25:08

Product Packaging with a Purpose, with Lindsey McCoy, Plaine Products

Plaine Products helps reduce single-use plastics by producing natural, vegan shampoo, conditioner, and body wash in returnable, reusable containers.

In 2013, Lindsey McCoy was living in the Bahamas and running a non-profit called Save the Bays. “I had zero interest in going into business,” she told me. “I was going to save the world.”

As she explored the islands, she noticed the impact of single use plastics. “Without regular trash pick up, you see those water bottles, flip flops and plastic bags in the water and along the side of the road,” she explains. “To me, single-use plastics is one of those things that once you start to notice it, you realize it’s everywhere.”

Lindsey tried to reduce her personal use of plastic. But she found it difficult to find plastic-free alternatives to shampoo, conditioner, and body wash. “It began to occur to me that there was a way to solve this by going outside of the non-profit community Providing a product might be a better solution.”

When she returned to the United States in 2015, she and her sister, Alison Webster, went to work on the problem. Together, they formed Plane Products. Plaine Products produces natural, vegan shampoo, conditioner & body wash in returnable, refillable, reusable containers. When a customer empties a Plaine Products bottle, they order a replacement. They place the empty bottle into the box and return it to Plaine Products to be sanitized and refilled.

It took Lindsey and Alison almost two years from idea to product launch. They had to find a contract manufacturer who produces natural products. They needed to work with someone who would be willing to refill bottles. And, they had to figure out their non-plastic packaging. At first, they tried steel containers, but the containers rusted. When they switched to aluminum containers, they found that the packaging not only lasted, but it was lighter to ship, saving costs. And, they had to figure out how to explain the concept of reusable packaging.

Social Entrepreneurship Quotes from Lindsey McCoy

“Once you start to notice it, you realize it’s everywhere.”

“I’m lazy. I’m busy. Making shampoo in my tub was not going to work for me.”

“Our addiction to convenience and dispensability seems only to be growing.”

“There will be more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050.”

“As far as we know, no one is doing this.”

“We were doing something totally different, and that made it even harder.”

“We tried some terrible products.”

“You can be small and still mighty.”

“Progress not perfection.”  

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