I have to admit that I share Joel Makower’s interest in “decidely low-tech” companies in the cleantech space. A month ago, during his blog roundup of the CleanTech Venture Forum in San Francisco, he wrote about a company called EcoDuro that make recyclable shipping pallets.
American businesses send hundreds of millions of wooden pallets into landfills every year, spending a billion or so dollars in the process. About 40% of all hardwood harvested in the U.S. is for pallets, about two-thirds of which are used only once before being tossed out. A fourth of all wood in landfills is from used pallets.
EcoDuro makes a pallet out of corrugated cardboard and recycled paper. It’s 100% recyclable, lighter to ship, doesn’t require fumigation (as wood does, to eliminate wood-boring insects), and can be recycled along with other paper and cardboard.
It definitely is a reminder that cleantech isn’t just about renewable energy technologies, but rather any innovation that encourages businesses to do less damage to the planet because — beyond improving the air we breath, water we drink and ground we stand on — it simply makes business sense. It’s about doing things better, smarter, and more efficiently, so that doing less harm to the environment can actually boost profits, or at the very least keep them from falling.
This space is taking off.