Today we’d like to introduce you to Jason Foster.
Jason, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I founded Replenish Bottling in Los Angeles after an epiphany I had while ironing my shirts. I wanted an ironing spray to help me iron but quickly realized that if I bought an ironing spray, I would use a 32ounce bottle of such a product really fast. Instead, I wanted a concentrate version of such a product that would allow me to easily mix water. I didn’t want to buy a concentrate bottle and need to stumble over mixing instructions and pour into another container. In my experience, concentrates were a hassle with a horrible user experience.
So after more thought, I wondered what that bottle and user experience would look like?
That’s when the mission and need to start to Replenish was born. The vast majority of products we buy contain 90% water and come in disposable plastic bottles that are thrown away. I wanted to invent a new category of consumer packaging — bottles that are reusable and designed to mix water with a concentrate at home.
The result was The Replenish Refill System- a reusable bottle, with built-in measuring cup, that attaches to a concentrate refill pod. It uses 90% less plastic and energy and saves people money because you aren’t paying for plastic and water. We then decided to start a sister brand called CleanPath that makes eco-friendly cleaners that use the Replenish Refill System. This allowed us to go to consumers directly and demonstrate that there is a better way. Cleaners are something that everyone’s uses and allows us to make a positive impact.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
It’s been a roller coaster, of course! Any time you are teaching people something new and forcing companies to reexamine the wastefulness and inefficiencies in how their products are designed, you are going to face resistance.
My job is to overcome those obstacles and show that there is a more sustainable and profitable way to design and sell consumer products. We shouldn’t be selling people plastic and water, especially when they can reuse the plastic and add water that is already in their homes.
The problem is companies make money selling you plastic and water and we need to change that if ever want to overcome the extreme damage we are doing to the planet by pumping out billions and billions of pounds of plastic into the land and sea every year. Something needs to be done because we are choking on plastic.
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Replenish Bottling – what should we know?
I am proud that Replenish is one of the few companies out there actively promoting reuse as a virtue. People forget the first two of the three r’s. It’s reduced, reuse and then recycle! For too long, companies have been telling us that recycling is all we need to do.
Well, that’s not enough. The highest recycling rate for plastic in the United States is 34% for PET. Just think about how terrible that statistic is? The overall recycling rate for all plastic is just above 7%.
We must do better and rethink how we design products and the impact those choices have on the planet, just not the stock price.
Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
Determination, passion, empathy, naivety and fear.