Kaley Foster is a green business entrepreneur who runs an all-natural beeswax candle company, Urban Buzz, from her home in Akron, Ohio.
Like many in her generation, Foster, a Millennial, age 29, shares grave concerns about climate change and its impact on the environment.
“When I founded my candle company, I focused on using beeswax, which is more environmentally-friendly than other types,” Foster told Small Business Trends in a telephone interview. “I’m not the greenest person in the world but had the idea of sustainability in the back of my mind. My choice of wax brought it to the forefront and, from there, things began to snowball.”
Foster combined her entrepreneurial talents and passion for sustainability to crowdsource the Akron Sustainer Project to teach area residents, small business owners and non-profit organizations about the many uses of environmentally-friendly construction. And she’s doing it from inside a shipping container!
Foster recently started a GoFundMe campaign to raise money and awareness for the project, which utilizes an 8′ by 20′ shipping container built from reused and repurposed materials, to act as an educational hub where she and others conduct workshops and teach courses on sustainability and green practices. Her goal is to raise $10,000.
The idea for the project sprang from an experience Foster had using a shipping container to sell her products.
She had participated in a project run by The Better Block Foundation, which promotes the revitalization of blighted urban areas.
In this case, the foundation had invited local business owners and entrepreneurs to set up shop in one such neighborhood. Another participant moved a shipping container to an empty lot, from which Foster and others sold their wares.
“I had heard of people turning shipping containers into homes, restaurants, art installations — all sorts of crazy things,” Foster said. “After conducting more research on their use, I applied for and received a grant from Torchbearers, a local activism organization I belong to, which enabled me to start.”
Work began on the shipping container in January of this year. Since its completion, Foster, in concert with other organizations, has been able to educate more than 10,000 visitors on sustainability, as well as on the shipping container movement that promotes the reuse of recyclable materials.
Through the project, which is now in phase two, Foster plans to feature eco-friendly materials such as solar panels, vegetative roofs, rain barrels and rainwater catchment systems, to name a few.
She is also inviting other organizations to make use of the space, taking it over for a month at a time.
Visit Foster’s GoFundMe page to learn more about the project or to donate.
Images: Kaley Foster