I grew up exploring and fishing in the marsh wetlands of southeastern Louisiana with my dad, Butch, an avid outdoorsman. Those many years spent developing a deep understanding of the tremendous value that wetlands provide, shaped my vision of conservation and care for nature’s outdoors. My life’s passion for ecology guided me to a career in environmental engineering, where I have worked as an environmental consultant and engineer. During a 2009 visit to a landfill, though, what I saw changed my outlook even more profoundly than those wetlands did from my youth. About the same time as the visit, the idea behind Tierra Ideas was born after reading an article from a magazine purchased with Delta Sky Miles points. When I saw an article on recycled bags I remember thinking, ‘This is it!’ And so I bought a used industrial Singer sewing machine from Craigslist for $475, enrolled in my first sewing class and 5 months later, my first recycled bag was complete.
Tierra Ideas’ aim is to help companies re-think how they dispose of their unwanted materials by creating the most unique recycled products anywhere. In 2010, Tierra Ideas has partnered with Delta Air Line to collect worn and retired aircraft seat covers and curtains donated by Delta Air Lines and recycle them into new bags and accessories. Through this unique partnership, thousands of pounds of worn aircraft seat covers and curtains have been diverted from the landfill. Tierra Ideas also recycles blown-out, waste bicycle inner tubes and tires. When they arrive in the shop, they are then cleaned with non-phosphate, biodegradable detergent, cut to length, and sewn into sheets of recycled rubber. The rubber sheets are then used along with other recycled materials to create each bag. This process is shown on Tierra’s FAQ webpage at …. http://www.tierraideas.com/faq.html
Another unique element of Tierra that we’re very proud of is that all of our products are made in North Carolina. Our primary sewing facility is the Raleigh Lions Clinic for the Blind (RLCB). RLCB assists visually-impaired and blind persons by offering job training and employment. 75% of the workforce at RLCB is visually impaired. Tierra Ideas’ bag and accessories are available for purchase online at http://www.tierraideas.com , Greengoodsshop.com based in Southern Pines, NC and other select retail outlets throughout the U.S.
How can I make a difference? Get involved by finding recycling efforts in your local area through websites like Earth911. It’s also available as an iPhone app called iRecycle. How can I find eco-friendly green news? Check out sites like thedailygreen.com and treehugger.com.