Today we’d like to introduce you to Willow and Indigo Krois.
Willow: I am 18 years old and was born and raised in Ridgway, Colorado. I love to adventure in the mountains, slack line, homebrew kombucha, dance and long board on our river trail. In 2013 my Mom and I started a movement in our town to ban single use plastic bags. Inspired by the Bag It movie made in Telluride we set out to educate our town to make a change. We named our campaign Bag It Ridgway and sold reusable bags around town. We screened the Bag It film at our local theater and had the director Suzan Beraza come speak. But with little encouragement from the Town Council our efforts fizzled out and we instead focused on setting a personal example of living a single use plastic free life.
Indigo: I am 15 years old and I live in Ridgway, Colorado on the Western Slope. I enjoy spending time with my friends, making art and being an activist. When I was in 7th grade a few friends and I picked up where Willow’s bag ban efforts left off and we started a new campaign in our town with the goal of banning single use plastic bags. Carry On! Ridgway Reuses was born in 2017. We are dedicated to raising awareness about the dangers of plastics and helping Ridgway become a single use plastic free town. We saw the harm that plastics were doing to the environment and we thought that eliminating single use plastics in our town would help the earth and inspire other towns to do the same. Our campaign was focused around educating the public on the harms of single use plastic. We showed the Bag It movie again at our local theater and invited the director to do a Q&A after. We set up a farmer’s market booth with educational materials and we sold reusable shopping bags, produce bags and straws to help raise money for our cause. We set up education tables at many local events and installed a plastic bag recycling container in our local grocery store. In the fall of 2018, we presented our efforts to the Town Council and requested that they pass an ordinance restricting the distribution of single use plastic bags. Every council member was in favor of some kind of plastics restriction. It took a few more months to write the ordinance to accommodate all single use plastic bags. The Ridgway Plastic Bag Ban Ordinance passed in December 2018 and went into effect in our town on June 1, 2019.
Since the Ridgway Plastic Bag Ban Ordinance was passed, we have been continuing our efforts to eliminate single use plastics from our town. We distributed free stainless-steel reusable straws to all the local restaurants. We also started a plastic film recycling program in our town. Monthly we collect plastic film from local businesses and from a community recycling bin and drop it at a transfer station that delivers it to Trex decking to be turned into recycled decking materials.
Carry on Reusables was created as an extension of the educational efforts we do in our town so that we can create wide reaching change. We realized that it is hard for many people to change their habits to remember to carry reusable items with them. We decided that if we made a kit that has all the reusable items one would need, they could keep it in their car or throw it in their backpack. We want to help people shift from a disposable mindset to one of personal responsibility to always carry reusable products. Our mission at Carry on Reusables is to reduce single use plastic pollution and to empower others to join in this effort.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
This business has been a big learning curve for us. We have never started a business before so we are learning all components of running a small business, mostly from our Mom. It has taken us about a year from conception to actually selling our Carry On Kits. It has been interesting to learn all the aspects of building a business like registering our business with the Colorado Secretary of State and applying for a sales tax license, learning quickbooks for all our bookkeeping, sourcing quality products, designing our kit bags, and marketing our product.
One thing that has been challenging is to establish relationships with businesses who are looking to recycle their advertising banners. We are committed to using all recycled materials for our zero waste kit bags. This includes climbing rope, bike tubes and vinyl or canvas material. Our kit bags were inspired by a box of New Belgium Brewery banners we received from a friend, but this resource soon ran out. So, it is taking some time to reach out to find companies who are looking for a recycling solution for their advertising waste and figuring out systems to get them to us. In the meantime, we are sourcing small quantities of banners from local organizations and businesses who would otherwise be sending their old banners to the landfill.
Carry On Reusables – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
We are a mother daughter team on a mission to reduce single use plastic pollution and to empower others to join in this effort. Our vision is a total shift in human behavior that creates a global movement toward a single use plastic free future. The science is clear, plastic pollution is devastating ecosystems, wildlife and human health.
In 2013 we started a plastic bag ban campaign in our small mountain town, Ridgway, Colorado, to educate about the dangers of plastics. Our efforts were aimed to help our community understand the plastic pollution problem, to instill a personal responsibility toward reducing plastic waste, and to eliminate the distribution of single use plastic bags in our town. After years of community outreach and promoting the use of reusable products, the Ridgway Town Council passed a comprehensive plastic bag ban ordinance in 2018.
Our challenge now is to convince people on a large scale that the new normal should be a personal responsibility to always carry reusable products. Carry On Reusables was created to be a solution to single use plastic pollution and to help people make the shift toward this new normal. We hope to inspire dramatic and wide-reaching change in the way we expect convenience and in our global responsibility to act to eliminate single use trash. We locally manufacture a zero-waste kit made of 95% recycled materials (banner, climbing rope, bike tubes) full of quality reusable products (water bottle, coffee thermos, to-go container, utensil kit, straw + cleaning brush, shopping bag and napkin) to make the move away from single use plastics easier. This is a Reusable Revolution. Feel it. Believe It. Join It.
We are most proud of being entrepreneurs at a young age and the possibilities of affecting real change on a large scale to help solve the problem of plastic pollution. We are also proud of committing to upcycling materials for our zero-waste kits. It would be easy to purchase new material to make our kits, but we feel it is very important to be a recycling solution to help divert useful products from the landfill. If you are a business or an organization looking to upcycle old vinyl or canvas banners please be in touch.
Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
We feel very fortunate to have grown up in a small tight knit mountain community. Living in southwest Colorado and adventuring in the mountains has given us an appreciation for the natural environment and a desire to protect it. Having the support of our town and family has taught us that our small efforts can make a big difference.
- Carry On Kit $140
- Website: https://carryonreusables.com/
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @carryonreusables
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/carryonreusables/