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Cloud Paper: A Startup that Rolls a Bit Differently than Other Eco-Friendly Companies

Capitalism.com
|
December 8, 2020

Meet some eco-friendly companies proving there’s profit in protecting our planet.

Toilet paper consumption is responsible for 20% of deforestation in the world. To give that figure a numerical value, humans chop down about 40,000 trees each day just to keep our nether regions clean.

40,000… That's an acre of forest lost every second. 

Society as a whole seems to justify chopping down this many trees just to have a clean derriere. Is it really worth losing valuable woodlands to keep your underwear skid mark-free?

Of course not!

That's why so many entrepreneurs have created sustainable solutions to solve everyday problems. (And if you’re thinking about starting a business like that in 2021, check out this video to get even more ideas.)

https://youtu.be/gYkBkzyUios

Going green doesn't mean sacrificing comfort. Eco-friendly brands don't want their consumers to give up the finer things in life to save the environment. It's entirely possible to create high-quality goods and deliver top-notch services without harming Mother Nature.

But is it possible to make environmentally-friendly toilet paper that doesn't destroy the forest? Cloud Paper thinks it is. They want to change the way you wipe, saying goodbye to tree-made TP and hello to bamboo.

Just What Is Eco-Friendly?

Eco-friendly literally means "not environmentally harmful," according to Merriam-Webster. The term can describe products, services, or even a person's behavior. Although the phrase didn't become popular until the late 1980s, living a green lifestyle has always been on-trend.

Environmentalism was on the minds of many forward-thinkers during the first half of the 19th century. Revered Transcendentalist, Henry David Thoreau, was one of the first to speak bluntly about the impact of man on Mother Nature. He matter-of-factly penned, "He who cuts down woods beyond a certain limit exterminates birds." His words stand the test of time.

What Is an Eco-Friendly Company?

Environmentally-friendly companies make it their mission to deliver high-quality products or services. And they meet consumer demand without harming the earth. These businesses take the extra step to reduce their carbon footprint and become more sustainable. Some measures they may put into place include:

  • Mandating company-wide recycling initiatives
  • Reducing the use of single-use plastics
  • Switching to alternative energy sources, such as solar
  • Sourcing green materials and raw goods
eco friendly companies

It's not all that difficult for a company to become more eco-friendly. Besides, consumers want brands to care more about the environment. A study by IBM and the National Retail Federation found that 70% of consumers believe it's important for companies to be sustainable. They'll even pay a premium of up to 35% to do business with eco-friendly brands.

Environmentally-Friendly Toilet Paper, Really?

Think about how many rolls of toilet paper your household consumes in a week. Now imagine how many trees die to ensure your most intimate parts stay fresh. It's a hard pill to swallow.

Cloud Paper is the brainchild of co-founders Ryan Fritsch and Austin Watkins. These University of Washington grads felt it was unacceptable for toilet paper companies to destroy forests just for a clean butt. In 2019, the duo teamed up with Tori Kiss, head of operations, and later, Neha Salgaonkar entered the mix as operations coordinator.

This team decided to take charge of this problem, and they came up with a bamboo-based solution that would protect the forest and clean bottoms.

Saving the Environment, One Roll at a Time

Cloud Paper's mission is to save as many trees as possible. By doing so, the company will not only ensure people have fresh air (trees convert CO2 into oxygen), but it will also save countless ecosystems. Millions of species call forests their home. Cloud Paper knows that protecting forests from extinction will do the same for wildlife.

But Cloud Paper's green practices don't stop there. The brand goes even further to reduce its carbon footstep by using plastic-free packaging. Cloud Paper partners with the CarbonFund to offset any carbon emissions generated by transporting its product. It won't be long before this eco-friendly startup reaches its goal of saving a billion trees.

What Makes Cloud Paper so Environmentally Friendly?

environmental

Bamboo is Cloud Paper's answer to toilet paper. Although the concept may seem strange at first, it makes a lot of sense. In its natural form, bamboo grows in long, tall shoots. Most people picture cuddly Panda eating hard, rough bamboo canes, but Ryan and Austin envisioned bamboo as a soft, durable paper.

What makes bamboo better than trees? As Sherlock Holmes would say, it's elementary. Bamboo grows at a much faster rate than trees. Some bamboo species can shoot up 3-feet in a single day—that's around 1.5 inches every hour. In just five weeks, most bamboo plants are close to 90-feet tall!

How long does a typical tree take to grow? On average, trees grow approximately 1-2 feet each year. Medium-sized trees mature after about 20 years; however, more robust trees take much longer to mature. Even though a hickory tree may grow 90 feet, it could take 200 years to reach its peak height.

So, what makes bamboo better for the environment? Sustainability.

Once a farmer plants bamboo, they don't have to wait very long for it to grow—it only takes about three years for bamboo to mature. Furthermore, companies don't have to destroy the entire plant to harvest the cane. After cutting what they need, it only takes about 60 days for a bamboo plant to self-regenerate.

But Who Wants to Wipe Their Tush with Bamboo?

As it turns out, many people desire a greener way to wipe. It doesn't make a lot of sense to harm the environment on something you'll just flush down the commode. Cloud Paper didn't have to look very far for funding.

The company got $500,000 from angel investors before launch. And that was only the beginning.

When the pandemic hit and toilet paper became scarce, the company saw a jaw-dropping 600% sales increase in only a few days. Sign-ups have increased by over 800% since the brand's initial launch. This sudden notoriety caught many wealthy investors' attention, including Shark Tank Shark and Dallas Mavericks owner, Mark Cuban.

The Preston Hollow Lifestyle reports, "This is how he rolls: Mark Cuban invests in eco-friendly toilet paper startup." According to the Dallas-based editorial, "Mark Cuban's latest investment is one we all might find ourselves using in the near future — bamboo toilet paper."

Cuban isn't the only celebrity to fund the eco-friendly startup. 

companies

Gwyneth Paltrow, Ashton Kutcher, Guy Oseary, and Robert Downey Jr.'s FootPrint Coalition invested a total of $3 million into Cloud Paper.

Cuban already has a track record for supporting eco-friendly products. Some of his past investments include Wild Earth, a company known for producing sustainable pet food, and Nohbo, a brand that makes eco-friendly shampoo balls.

Paltrow also has a reputation for supporting sustainable brands. She demonstrates her commitment to living an environmentally-friendly lifestyle with her brand, Goop. Paltrow's efforts earned her an Environmental Media Association award in 2015.

Kutcher is a bit of a philanthropist. He uses his stardom to support many social issues, including human trafficking. In 2012, Kutcher and Demi Moore founded Thorn, a non-profit dedicated to defending children from sex trafficking. He's also a long-time supporter of Habitat for Humanity.

Oseary, along with Kutcher, is a co-owner of Sound Ventures, a venture capital firm. Before starting this new company, the duo already had an impressive portfolio from investing in successful startups, such as Uber and Airbnb. Adding Cloud Paper to the list only makes sense.

Downey Jr.'s FootPrint Coalition provides grants to nonprofits devoted to developing environmentally-friendly technology. The organization also invests in sustainability-focused companies.

But the hype for Cloud Paper doesn't stop with wealthy donors and investors. The general public also shows a keen interest in this eco-friendly product. It seems like the market for Cloud Paper is much broader than ever imagined. And that's great news for the planet.

As more people get wind of this green toilet paper alternative, sales will continue to increase. Currently, Cloud Paper is only sold on the company's website and shipped directly to consumers. Buyers can sign up for a subscription plan based on their household size and bathroom needs.

But Isn't Bamboo Too Rough for Your Bum?

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Not at all! Consumers don't have to sacrifice comfort for sustainability. 

Ryan and Austin claim their product is "ultra-soft." Every roll is 3-ply—yes, 3-ply! That means it's more plush, absorbent, and luxurious than most comparable, tree-based options. Worried about obnoxious TP flakes in your crevices? The co-founders promise Cloud Paper doesn't leave behind any residue. It dissolves just as quickly as traditional TP and is septic-friendly.

Astonishingly, no one has thought of making sustainable toilet paper until now—especially since nearly every household goes through several rolls a week. But with Cloud Paper on the market, it's now possible to save the earth while sitting on the throne. 

Giving a Few Squares Back to the Community

Cloud Paper entered the TP market at just the right time. There's no way anyone would have predicted the mass toilet-paper hoarding and shortage scenario of 2020. Only a year after launch, the COVID-19 pandemic plagued the world. As a strange result, toilet paper flew off store shelves at record rates.

This sudden rush on TP not only affected the average person, but it disproportionately hurt lower socioeconomic areas. As GeekWire reports, "During run on toilet paper, Cloud Paper is on a roll with its tree-free product and a worthy donation." This eco-friendly business has always helped those in need, but Cloud paper pledged 10,000 rolls to Food Lifeline in addition to its regular donations during this health crisis.

"When we started Cloud Paper, the most important criteria was that we had to provide a positive impact for the people and resources of our planet from day one," said Fritsch. "This is also why we started partnering with Food Lifeline from the beginning to donate our product to the food banks and shelters that need it."

Are There Other Eco-Friendly Companies Like Cloud Paper?

Yes! Cloud Paper isn't the only eco-friendly brand making waves. Saving the environment has also become a top priority for other companies—even if their customers were the ones to start nudging them in a greener direction. Let's answer a few questions that possibly popped into your head:

What Brands Are Environmentally Friendly?

Consumers speak with their wallets, so it only makes sense to know which brands are green before purchasing. Luckily, some of your favorite companies are probably on the list. 

sustainable

Here are some eco-friendly companies worthy of attention:

  • Seventh Generation
  • TOMS
  • Allbirds
  • Patagonia
  • West Elm
  • IKEA
  • REI
  • Apple
  • Burt's Bees
  • Reformation
  • Love Beauty and Planet
  • ALDO
  • KIND Snacks

Now, this list is far from complete, but it's a start. If you want to know more about a brand's environmental promises, don't hesitate to ask them. Most have this information readily available on their websites.

Will There Be More Environmentally Friendly Companies in 2021?

Environmental issues are in the headlines nearly every day. From single-use plastic filling the ocean to mass deforestation, people realize now is the time to take action. The hunt for sustainable, biodegradable, and all-natural products is more relevant than ever. 

Cloud Paper is what consumers want. They will happily pay more to wipe their nether regions with sustainable TP. And as the brand's revenues continue to grow, other companies are sure to take note.

2020 is almost over. But plenty of brands—both mainstream and indie—have started to take the necessary steps to become more eco-friendly. The demand for green products increases (the sustainability market could reach $150 billion by 2021). This increase in demand will inspire more environmentally-friendly companies to launch.

Now is the time for entrepreneurs to take charge of environmental problems and offer innovative solutions. Perhaps you could launch the next Cloud Paper and help protect the environment for generations to come.

We would love to help you build a business like that - and get fabulously wealthy in the process! The heart of Capitalism.com beats for entrepreneurial-minded people who will step up, take ownership of problems in the world, and create solutions that serve the world. 

So, if you’re just starting out on your entrepreneurial journey, check out this free quick-start video series that will give you a huge head start. And when you’re ready for more, join The One Percent. Our mentoring community is 1,000 entrepreneurs strong, and we collaborate to build businesses and invest the profits.

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