Thursday, July 2, 2009

Sustainable Futures

I love a happy story and this one definitely fits the bill. I also love it when people recycle or in this case upcycle because it just goes to show that one man's trash is another man's treasure.

Sustainable Futures could be the poster child for the new America. We all need to take care of one another, provide jobs and training for the disadvantaged, and lessen our impact on the planet. This company is a non-profit out of Boise, Idaho and they provide vocational training in 'green-collar' jobs to members of the underpriviledged in Boise. If you are unfamiliar with the term 'green-collar' job, this is how Phil Angelides, a venture capitalist from California defines it: "It has to pay decent wages and benefits that can support a family. It has to be part of a real career path, with upward mobility. And it needs to reduce waste and pollution and benefit the environment." These are the types of jobs that everyone wants!

According to the Sustainable Futures website, their main focus is on seeking out and bringing forth the hidden value in the disposable items that compose our landfills, while at the same time bringing forth the hidden value in the analogous people who fill our correctional systems. I love it! Taking throwaway people and throwaway items to bring forth a product that is marketable, while providing new lives for those that were once without hope.

Their main project deals with garbage which is so near and dear to Mom's heart. They are particulary focused on closing the glass waste stream in Boise. Hallelujah! These guys are definitely doing the right thing. By focusing on wine and liquor bottles, they employ incarerated women and then teach them how to turn these bottles into beautiful new glassware. The employees learn how to clean, cut, grind, polish, and sandblast the glass, thus providing life long skills that can be transfered to any glass business.

But who buys the glassware? This is the cherry on top of the sundae - the glassware is sold to restaurants in Boise that support the program. What a great idea! Involve local businesses in the project and spread the word. This is a big win-win for everyone in Boise! The glassware that isn't sold to local restaurants is available for you the consumer to purchase via their website.

Imagine if no more virgin glasses were ever produced. I'm not suggesting that we put the glassware companies out of business but that they refocus their efforts on upcycling discarded bottles. I know that the upcycled glassware would initially cost more, but once they became mainstream the price would drop and they would be as affordable as virgin glassware is today. I am hoping for the day that this happens because there is only so much of everything to go around and there are so many bottles that end up in landfills.

You can read more about the great work that Sustainable Futures does by visiting them at They are also involved in teaching their employees life skills to survive in the real world which makes me smile. And don't forget to check out their great looking glassware. I think they would make an excellent gift. I wonder if they could etch a pug on the glasses.


Tweedles -- that's me... said...

Hi Stubby
You and your mom are so totally amazing! How do you find all this information that is so beneficial to our world? We love coming to your site to learn new things! Mom was at a store today and she thought of you and your mom, cause she saw Earth Friendly items! See you make an impact on us!
Good jobs my friend!

Stubby said...

Hey Tweedles! Thanks for the great compliment. I spend lots of time unearthing great info so that I can pass it on to all my blogging friends. Mom tells me it is my job to inform people about green things around the world.

I'm so glad that you learn lots of new things by reading my blog and that I've made a positive impact on your lives.

Stubby xoxo

Pee-s: Earth Friendly items are great. Mom uses them a lot of them around the house.