They are known throughout the world and admired for their music. Jeremy, Black, Last kiss, Better man: they are just some of the titles of their most famous songs. But Pearl Jam are also supporters of the bioeconomy. The band originally from Seattle and Green Dot, working together with Sea-Lect Plastics, have created a biodegradable luggage tag manufactured locally in the Seattle area. The tags were made as a special gift to members of the band’s popular fan organization, the Ten Club.
Pearl Jam’s dedication to their fans and the environment is well known. Their initiatives to offset CO2 emissions, environmental conservation efforts, and their campaign to promote small-scale renewable energy projects throughout the U.S. are only a few examples of these values put into action. So, when the members of Pearl Jam wanted to make more sustainable products for Ten Club, they turned to Green Dot. Green Dot is a bioscience social enterprise headquartered in Cottonwood Falls, Kansas. The company serves the plastics industry and style conscious consumers with a full line of biobased and compostable materials sold under the Terratek® brand name. The company offers a full line of biobased and biodegradable plastics made from renewable, reclaimed and recycled materials. From beautiful furniture made from reclaimed wood-fibers and recycled plastic, to soft plastic iPhone cases that will biodegrade in a backyard compost.
Green Dot was asked to create a biodegradable luggage tag exclusively for Ten Club members. The company based in Kansas developed a bioplastic formulated to meet the demands of the project. The luggage tags are designed to withstand the rigors of a worldwide tour, and when their useful life has ended, the materials can be returned to nature. The material will not begin to biodegrade until it’s placed in a composting environment.
Stone Gossard, guitarist for Pearl Jam, spoke to the importance of not filling landfills with goods that could be made using smarter materials. “The need for better, compostable plastic goods is just so evident,” he said. “And it’s amazing that the materials already exist. We’re just marching against resistance to implementation at this point.”
Tim Bierman, head of Pearl Jam’s Ten Club, is also in charge of merchandising for the band. “We’ve always been an organization that has provided unique merchandise items to our fans,” he said. Bierman added that, for the band’s hardcore followers who often travel to multiple shows on a given tour, luggage tags were both a functional gift and an acknowledgement of the band’s ideals.
Making products that are more sustainable is not just about the materials used; where and how a product is made is also important. Green Dot introduced Pearl Jam to Sea-Lect Plastics, a plastics molder just outside Seattle. The team worked together to design, create tooling, and manufacture the luggage tags locally in the Seattle area.
“Green Dot is science based, style driven, and socially conscious,” explained Mark Remmert, the company’s Chief Executive Officer. “We’re here to help designers and manufacturers lighten the environmental impact of their products. This project epitomizes everything that’s important to us. Making it locally is the icing on the cake.”
Green Dot has published a case study of the project available on their website at http://www.GreenDotPure.com. The study demonstrates how product designers and manufacturers can create more sustainable plastic products, using bioplastics and biocomposites. The study details the stages of product development from concept design, to material selection, to tooling and molding.