Waste is something we’ve invented over the last 50 years and we have to disinvent it.
Kresse Wessling has a dirty mind. As the cofounder of Elvis & Wesling, she’s constantly thinking about waste. Founded in 2007, the high-end fashion line uses only commercial and industrial waste as its raw materials and then donates half of the profits to charities associated with the waste. The dirty little secret about the business is that it began life in a different form. “What we discovered as we went through the research process is that there isn’t enough hose waste globally annually to have a sustainable roofing business,” says Wesling. But, combined with a fashion line that turns retired fire hoses into wallets and purses, as well as up-cycling other discarded waste such as coffee sacks, the group has, to date, reclaimed 155 tons of garbage from landfills. “Waste is something we’ve invented over the last 50 years and we have to disinvent it,” says Wesling.
TakePart travelled to the Skoll World Forum in Oxford, England, to pick the brains of the world’s biggest thinkers. These Innovators in Action are changing the face of the future with bold new ideas and profound enthusiasm. Motivated by personal experience and fueled by the hope that things can get better, these innovators—each of them true social entrepreneurs—are improving our world, one brilliant business idea at a time.