Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Inventor Showcasing: Pouch Pals

Pouch Pals makes a wonderful addition to the Womentorz community and is your essential green product for the school year.  Here is a wonderful interview with the creator, Allison Cohen, who is an inspiration in being green:

Q. How and why did you come up with the idea of Pouch Pals? 

I had been using disposable plastic bags to pack snacks and lunches for my kids, but I hated using those and wasting them.  I didn’t think it was safe to reuse them.

And, I was really only thinking of my family's next green step when I came up with Pouch Pals. I had no idea I'd be starting a green business at that point. 

I'm a transactional lawyer by trade but this is a great creative outlet that makes me feel like I'm doing some good for the world.

I wanted to create something that would work — a nondisposable bag or pouch, something I could use for a long time.

I tried making my own bags out of different materials until I found the combination that worked and that I felt was food safe for short-term food storage.

Q. How is Pouch Pals green and what differentiates other reusable products?

Pouch Pals are green because use of them essentially eliminates the use of disposable plastic sandwich and snack baggies that fill our land fills and pollute our oceans. 

Pouch Pals are made of high quality 100 percent cotton material exterior and lined with a water-resistant nylon material that’s free of PVC, BPA and phthalate. A Velcro closure keeps the enclosed food secure.

Pouch Pals are different from other reusable products in that they are very easy to clean and dry quickly, which answers an important question that everyone asks off the bat.  Pouch Pals can be turned inside out, then washed by hand or tossed into the washer and dryer.

In addition, they take up very little space unlike tupperware or other containers that are reusable.  I’ve used them with all sorts of sandwiches, peanut butter and jelly, cheese, etc.

You can even get small ice packs and slide it inside and then, add yogurt and string cheese which will stay cold until lunch.

Q. Beyond being green for the wallet, on average how much green would a family save per year by using your product?

A family of four can prevent 3,120 sandwich bags from entering landfills in one year by replacing them with Pouch Pals. There’s a cost savings as well: In two years, a family can spend $300 for plastic snack and sandwich bags, but a $100 investment in Pouch Pals will cover the family for at least that long.  In 5 years a family of 4 has prevent almost 16,000 bags from entering landfills and saved approximately $600.00.

Q. What was your experience like in the actual design and manufacturing of your product?

It was extraordinarily educational. Trial and error, home runs and set backs.  I've learned so much and look forward to continuing to learn as Pouch Pals continues to grow.

Q. How do you balance running a business, working part time and the daily responsibilities of having a family?

Frankly, I don't sleep as much as I should.  I think Pouch Pals is a worthwhile endeavor, worthy enough to take up my evening hours after the kids are in bed.  This is my small contribution to mother earth and hopefully, others will follow suit by buying Pouch Pals in an effort to reduce the impact of disposed of plastic on our planet.  I also feel like this effort, in the long run, will teach my kids to "go for it" when they truly believe in something.
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