Behind-the-Scenes with the University of St. Thomas

June 11, 2018

University of St. Thomas Photo Shoot

When the University of St. Thomas visited us recently for their feature story, Meet The Ecopreneur Who Loves to Talk Trash, we invited them on a "field trip" of sorts around Salt Lake City to visit some of our local partners.


The first stop of the day was to Columbus Production Services, an organization that has been serving individuals with disabilities since 1968. Here, we met up with Mike Wong, Co-Founder of IKOS Toys, and learned how they and other organizations work with Columbus to fulfill the needs of their business with individuals who otherwise would face barriers to employment.

Can a product be made more consciously than this?  These toys are (1) designed by high schoolers; (2) using 100% recycled plastic; (3) to help children develop STEM skills; (4) providing jobs to adults with disabilities; and (5) 7% of any profit is donated to education & water conservation groups.  Now just think of all of the other toy brands out there and if they too could check as many boxes as IKOS: really makes you think, doesn't it?

IKOS Toys Color Sorted

The next stop was to visit Matt Thomas of Bar Home Designs. Matt specializes in handcrafting furniture, wall art, barware (like these tap handles) and other items from reclaimed wood barrels previously used to hold wine, whiskey or beer.

Unlike IKOS Toys' nearly spotless facility, Matt's is the complete opposite: you're bound to get dusty!  It's simply the nature of the material: sawdust from the wood and the charred remains of the barrel interiors.  What we love about Matt is his creative nature combined with his willingness to experiment with any design idea, like this Aspen tree metal carving of two pieces of metal overlaid on a barrel head.

Matt Thomas On His Whiskey Barrels

Finally, we visited the local tire recycling facility to see firsthand where the recycled inner tubes used to make the Tüb Wallets are sourced. Designed by the very talented Amy Keele, the Tüb line of products create durable, sustainable & functional everyday products using discarded rubber inner tubes. In the main image above, you see Mark photographing Amy's wallets on a pile of inner tubes, which initially are covered in dirt and piled up in a soggy pond-like pit. Unlike other methods of manufacturing where you would simply order a roll of rubber, an intense amount of work goes into cleaning, trimming and prepping this material.

Pictured here is Amy sorting through the tubes at the local Salt Lake City rubber recycling facility.

Searching For Recycled Inner Tubes

Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.

Emails Suck. Ours Don't.