Okabashi Shoes started 26 years ago in Georgia with one goal in mind: making the most comfortable shoe ever. Today, Brad LaPorte, Vice President of Manufacturing for the brand, continues to expand the brand’s mission — 30 million recycled shoes later — in 16 countries. Okabashi shoes are made of 100% recycled Microplast, a carefully selected mixture of waste materials, in a closed-loop system, and the company encourages users to return old pairs to recycle once more into new products. The brand’s carbon footprint is constantly being reduced as well: A typical pair of Okabashi shoes travels about 700 miles, compared to the 11,000 miles that imported shoes travel. “Sustainability is a very big part of Okabashi, but you can get stagnant just being sustainable,” LaPorte admits. “Moving to the next level, we’re developing Microplast 2, which is lighter and stronger and uses less fossil fuels to make the product.” Spencer Brown is the founder and Chief Treehugger in Charge at Rent a Green Box. After a moving experience left him at a loss at what to do with his leftover cardboard boxes, he resolved to “make a better box” using plastics typically destined for landfills, and zero-waste moving was born. Rent a Green Box’s proprietary boxes last 400 uses and are delivered and picked up using the company’s biofueled fleet. The user experience is simple: Rent the reusable boxes and Rent a Green Box delivers them to you. Use them for a move and then Rent a Green Box picks them up, sanitizes them and makes them available for rental again. It’s genius green business — saving trees, shunning landfills and creating green jobs. “We’re experts at making it cheaper, faster and easier for America to pack and move their stuff,” Brown says. “What’s amazing is that America has accepted our offer, because it is cheaper, it is more convenient and it’s also good for the environment.”
Okabashi Shoes’ Brad LaPorte and Rent a Green Box’s Spencer Brown
“Green is Good” welcomes Okabashi Shoes’ Brad LaPorte and Rent a Green Box’s Spencer Brown to discuss their green initiatives.