Andy Straisfeld - Through the Noise Transcript
10:53PM Nov 16, 2021
For example, I saw a picture one time of the flower market flowers and how they're shipped all around the world. Like, you know, when you go to your florist and you buy flowers, they're probably made, you know, somewhere 1000s of miles away. And so there's a, you know, there's a diagram that I saw that shows exactly how flowers and this is a very low cost products, but we don't make them here. So you know, you have to buy your flowers from somewhere else. So I think there has to be a kind of a reversion or swinging of the pendulum from this idea that we can just make things in bulk all around the world and ship it all around the world and just come back to a local economy. So to me, it's about local economies and creating, you know, that opportunity to keep it here. Through the noise with your host, Ernesto Glucksman.
Alright, we're on guys. Thank you for joining me on the show. I am delighted that your publicist reached out I get a ton of emails, by the way from publicists, and they don't all always align with what we're trying to aim for. But when I came across what she had she had written about you guys, this is a collaborative project among a few different companies in Canada. And that you that this this project is really Canada's first circular economy based project targeting medical textiles. I had to have you guys on the show. So thank you both for joining us. I have Andy straight felt that I say that right. You got it. Ah, okay. It strays fall, you're the VP of Business Development, at revive, for lifecycle revive, right, right. And, and then I also have Lena Bowden and you are one of the partners that Carmina de Yong a company well lifecycle revive your you process the recycling the recycling material and some novel method associated with that. And Lina, you're part of the group that's going to take that material and remake that into medical grade PPE. Equipment, that's Well, let's start off with like, just a just a little overview of each company. We'll start with Andy, because kind of this that's sort of how I think it's sort of the linear product got the raw materials? And then we'll go to you, Lena, and can can you give us a sense of what you guys are doing?
Alright, well, first of all, thank you very much for having an MI and lien on the show. I'm a big fan. I really enjoyed your, your show with Ali Blandina. And that's when I reached out to my publicist, because I said, I really got to talk to this dude. And, you know, share with him our thoughts and what we were doing and, and that was actually right at the cusp of when we were launching the company. So we I was a medical sales rep for a major international company here in Canada, and COVID hit and by the time the borders closed and medical products couldn't come in. I started acting like a like a matchmaker helping people, sir, you know, surf the the the world of trying to find PPE. So one of our partners who's not here today, NAD Halabi, got a government contract to make gowns. And then I went out and met Lena, and we'll talk to Lena and about that part, but as we were progressing, and as we were working through the shortages in this country, and as they were filling the the necessity, I went to visit the facility and I saw piles of piles of this waste, you know, just being thrown aside. And it started to hurt my soul. So I said, I picked up the phone and I called one of our colleagues who is Kurt Staley, who owns Optima plastics. And I said, Kurt, can you take scrap? And can we can we do something with it? So Sure we can. So we sat down all four of us, you know, this is the the Quartet the the the building of the band type of thing. And we agreed that what we wanted to do, and Lena went out got the funding. And by the end of the year, lifecycle, the entity was created, lifecycle revived, and then lifecycle health, which will be the the final end, which will be the textile side of the business. But yeah, and you know, in January, I left my job, I was unemployed probably for about three days until lead and the gang said, Hey, guys, you know, let's get Andy aboard and I came on board and here I am now and what we do is we go to hospitals, we take the clean sterile wrap and the bottles and whatever it is that is not dirty and bloodied. We go out into the public and we get people's backs and other PPS, we take it to our facility in Brantford, Ontario where we put into a gigantic machine that eats 3500 pounds of plastic and spits out pallets on either side. And those pallets can be sold or sent to manufacturers to make a wide variety of plastic goods including medical textiles, which will you know, it will be the the the beneficiary of the of that stuff and let's hand it unless there's anything else going on. So I had to delete No, that's it. It's a that's a good overview and
I feel like it's stimulating a bunch of questions on that on on that how that came together. But Lina you're the one that's been in on the other end of this equation in the other on creating the materials in this this company, this group that you have, can you just describe to us what the what the group how that particular aspect of the business has been constituted? And what have you guys been doing since it sounds like you guys been in this business for a while?
Before we look at the full circular chain, I think it's good to talk about Carmina de Yong. And the division that we created called CUI health where we'd be making PPE since the start of the pandemic. So those are the sort of the two bookends the recycling program that any spoke about. And then we've been making, we've been in the gown production business. And because we have a kind of sustainable values, we started out when the pandemic hit making reusable gowns, and we still do we still make reusable gowns, but the market seems to demand and hospitals and healthcare institutions seem to demand single use items, which you know, as Andy said, that kind of hurts our soul, because, you know, he basically gets worn once and it gets tossed into the garbage and it ends up in the landfill. And so throughout 2020, we, we did make isolation gowns, we made them for Health Canada through a subcontract actually through a partnership that Andy was involved with. And that's how we got to no end. So, you know, by the summer of 2020, as we were making more and more of these disposable isolation gowns, that's when you know, Andy was talking about this concept, as was his idea that we could actually create a way of not having the PPE and medical textile go to the landfill. So that's when we started to approach different funders. And we were successful in getting an engine grant, which is the next generation manufacturing. It's an organization that's funded by the federal government. And that was what really kick started our project to be able to then kind of fill in that middle piece, which is making the textile. So we were already making the isolation gowns. And we've been ramping up our staffing here in London, Ontario, making gowns. And we continue to do subcontracts for Health Canada, as well as provide isolation gowns and other PPE to other other health care providers and including, you know, emergency services and fire departments. So we're continually growing and improving our manufacturing capabilities to be able to make PPE. And that middle section is the textile production. So the project right now is we're in, in the market for a, what's called a spunbond textile line. So we that's the fabric that will be used to be able to make these gowns. So we're we've been, we've been right now in the process of identifying the right vendor and the right piece of equipment and building the full project to be able to bring one of these lines to Canada. And so that's not here yet. But we're very close to finalizing that as the middle activity whereby hopefully before the end of the year, we will have a textile line up and running. Which would mean if you follow now the full circle through we collect and reclaim all of that medical textile waste waste from the hospitals and scraps from manufacturers as well, because that's another source of textile waste, that'll go to Brantford, it gets re processed and made into polypropylene pellets, those polypropylene pellets then become the raw material to feed our Textile Machine. And then we'll make textile, that textile will then be used to make the isolation gowns and PPE that we hope to sell within Ontario and then have the full circle all happen again, with those same gowns and PPE that we make. Go back into the recycling system.
So it's the it's the component for you guys at the moment is getting the raw pellets into something that you can then weave right is that that stage you're at right now shopping for machinery? Or who's how we're going to do that. Right? Yeah, but in but in terms of creating PPE creating this stuff, that's stuff that you guys are already you're doing that okay. And then Andy's machine is trying to get currently it's just the clean stuff the stuff that hasn't been used that might be thrown out, right, Andy?
Yeah, no era. And so you're right. It's it's actually it's a two pillar system. Like for your listeners, who might who might know or might not know the biggest producer of garbage in any country, usually as health care hospitals. In the hospital, the number one producers foodstuffs, the cafeteria after that is the it's the operating room. Now 80% of waste in the operating room is actually deemed clean. So essentially, before a patient ever comes in the room, the gowns, the sterile wraps, the the water bottles to fill the basins. These are all going to clear plastic bags and what's happening, they're being thrown into the hallway, and then they're taken down to a loading dock and thrown into a garbage pit. When these can actually be reclaimed right away. They're there number five, probably properly, and that's why I said when Ellie Blandina was talking about probably properly they said like this This is the this is the industry that people don't realize, like, we're talking about health care we're talking about, I don't know if you have them in the States, but dollar stores, all this stuff like those mugs, those places all probably properly number five. And when they're cracked, what do we do, we end up throwing them in the garbage, right? We don't recycle them, but we want to recycle them. And then so that's that. And then the dirty part of the business is the everyday masks that are in the world today. So as you know, there's TerraCycle and other groups, and in the world who have a box solution, we have a box solution. And what we tell people is fill the box, ship the box to us, we'll cut out the aluminum, and we'll cut out the loops, and we'll feed the magical machine. And we'll deal with the loops in the aluminum a different way, you know, which is part of our secret formula. But all in all, we were able to reclaim now both sides dirty and clean. Yeah,
I, you know, I guess it can imagine if you're going into get surgery, there's just a lot of material that staged right for your surgical procedure that most of the time isn't really fully used. It's just there just in case, right? And then because that's been in, in the surgical room, it's kind of considered what contaminated material at that point. And it just got it grouped and thrown out. And that's why our bills are high, because we pay for all this stuff that has to be checked out and re replenished. I did did the dip COVID, the COVID shortages of 2019 to 20. Did that stimulate the customer base and I and you've been in the healthcare field for so long? Right? So did that stimulate a conversation around? Wait a minute, why are we really throwing all this stuff out just all at once?
Very much very much. So like, you know, the problem was that I'm not going to be political. But you know, political choices across the borders forced us to go overseas to get bad quality plastic, you know, from from different markets. And when that stuff got here, people saw I'm not going to wear this. So now you have people that have ordered millions of these things. And what do they do in order to cut their losses, they'll they'll throw them in the garbage or they'll sell them to somebody who's going to do something unsavory with plastics. But at the same time, you know, we we saw and the Canadian Prime Minister saw that no matter what was going to landfill now yet 68,000 tons of extra PP going to be dumped into the landfill. And he called that an environmental disaster. So people like lead on myself and Matt and Kurt, we got together and said, Okay, look, we're gonna make a stand here. But at the same time, it came from a patriotic fervor like, we will, you know, it's like that scene from Gone With the Wind, where Scarlett is eating the raw potato, and she says, I'll never go hungry again, like, we'll never be dependent again on something else, because we sat down, and we saw that there were many companies buying meltblown, which is the filter part of a mask, but nobody was buying the spunbond. And we were just it's been bought is the fabric that encases the Okay, what blows or makes gowns. And what's happened is that, you know, Lena will tell you there have been government contracts that she was a part of, and not part of where Canadian manufacturers didn't have somebody to go here and in Canada, and not even in the United States. And you know, they have to wait for the stuff to come from China, they have to wait for the stuff to come from India and that and now what's happening, we have a we have a closure in India, we have closure in Pakistan, the world economy is shrinking when it comes to this type of stuff. And it comes back to a nationalist fervor where Hey, we should have this machine here. Now, we should be able to do the stuff here. And if we can do it here to do in the States. So that's what I'm saying. Like it's the COVID definitely pushed the envelope on we got to do things differently, right. I think
we were less in the United here in the US. We were we were there was just reports all over the place where nurses and doctors had to rewear their PPE because they just they there wasn't assurances that they could get the stuff in prior to the COVID situation it was just simply like you just dial in phone number you just get on the website and another shipment comes in whenever you think your stocks at the hospital were low. And so everyone reduced warehousing everyone because that's that's just cost for an accountant for an accountant. That's just cost. That's just those are assets that are just sitting there right until it gets actually used you don't want when the county for so you don't want big inventory. But from a resiliency being prepared for like a pandemic that they've been talking about for years was possible was going to happen. It just seems to caught everybody off guard. Right. And so I wonder for you guys in Canada, is this kind of projects being seen as the possible, maybe middle step towards a more resilient supply chain? Or is it or is it more about simply like, well, this this is plastic, we really shouldn't be putting it into landfills, we should try to squeeze out another use for it.
I can just speak from you know, our funders perspective because, you know, we did have to get significant funding. And then we also got investors to participate as well. And I think what we're seeing in Canada, and I think I see it, you know, through some of our different partners that we have in the US as well is that this idea of having our own domestic manufacturers like we lost a lot of manufacturing. So there's a whole campaign to you know, to reassure manufacturing and in particular reassure manufacturing of PPE because We didn't have any manufacturers or PPE anymore. So it was very difficult when the pandemic hit. And so what's happened as well, since the pandemic, a lot of manufacturing companies did pivot and switch and start making up, how many of them are in it for the long haul, because, you know, price competition is a real thing, you know, we, we have a real challenge trying to match the prices that come from from China, you know, we can't make it as cheaply as them because our, you know, we have higher wages, and, you know, we're not willing to sacrifice the, you know, our labor force to be able to sell what we sell. And so we know, we need to be able to, you know, produce it efficiently, but it's very difficult to compete. And so the idea that you can actually create your own raw material that helps in the, you know, in the cost, and to be able to reduce the costs. And then you know, there is some automation that we're looking at, as well in terms of making these isolation gowns using automation that will also help us bring the price down. But there also has to be an acceptance by, you know, Canada and the US to be able to say, we know, at least, you know, we should have our own domestic suppliers. And if we don't, then, you know, what does that mean, and it might mean that our healthcare institutions maybe have to pay a small premium to be able to buy to buy domestically, because without a domestic supply of PPE, we may end up being in the same situation again, is Andy.
Right? I mean, it happened. Yeah, I think the conversation really is the national security issue, right? It's like, yes, it's great to get some of this stuff overseas, where the cost of labor is so much lower. But on the other hand, when you're dependent on that supplier, and you know, when something happens overseas, they're going to think of themselves first, right? They're going to that's what's happening in India, what's happening, what's happening in China, and then what happens, you know, stateside in the US and Canada and so forth. Do you think that we be given the termination of lockdowns having been so long? And the fact that hey, COVID still out there, even though people seem to be behaving? Like it's not? Do you think this it's, there's a sustainable narrative here for to recreate this sort of? I don't know, if it's this, I don't know what you describe it? Is it like a secondary market? Is it like just a mid mid tier market, that's just, you know, maybe you just gonna have to force hospitals to say, you just pay this premium for a certain amount that you have to keep on hand kind of like, banks have to have certain amount of capital on hand before they start leveraging everything, you just price into the cost of doing business. Yeah, government
policy certainly plays a role here, either through subsidies to the manufacturers themselves, or possibly, like you say, to have a quota that every healthcare institution has to buy a certain percentage of their medical supplies from Canadian suppliers. And, you know, we think that's something that needs to be done. Or, you know, but there's, there's also a lot of a lot, I think, with the pandemic, I suspect, in some ways, you know, both Canada, and I don't know what happened in the States. But here in Canada, there was an opportunity, I think, to start to establish a stronghold. And we'll say, you know, how do we make investments that are prudent, and not just make investments so that we filled warehouses full of PPE, and then find ourselves in the same situation five years from now, if we have another pandemic? So I think there's some, I think our project looks to the future, it looks to a long term solution, it's not just a temporary solution to fill some warehouses with, you know, stocks of PPE, that, you know, we'll never have shortages in the short term, but in the long term, we may again, because we may find us if we don't, if we don't help manufacturers like us survive, then, you know, we're gonna be in the same position again.
So Lita brings up the very good point. And and it's, it's very resonant with some of your past episodes, especially with Allien and other people that I've heard. And, and I don't know if the if I could just take 30 seconds, just to give you a painting, the United States of Canada, there's always going to be a difference between us because Canada has always been a social, socialist based system, social democratic system. A little difference here and there. It's sort of you know, but in Canada, we have our version of Democrats or liberals and our version of of Republicans or conservatives, and then we are blessed to have fringe parties, like labor and then green. And what what we're trying to do here is we're trying to, in a sense, we didn't mean to get started on this, but I don't know if this actually resonates in the States as much as it resonates in Canada, but we have obligations. Everybody wants an obligation. Everyone wants to meet the Paris accord numbers and they want to be you know, hey, we've done this type of thing. And the the Green Party of Canada and I'm not criticizing them publicly, I'm I'm saying what's true, is that their attitude has always been we got to make that number by hook or crook. Now. I've always said as an entrepreneur and as a citizen, that what we're learning from COVID And what what creates Llinas business and, and what created our business is don't tax us on carbon don't tax us on, on being companies that don't do well in nurture our companies to be environmental companies create an environmental economy. And this is essentially what we're doing by creating a circular economy by taking garbage and turning it into the linens turning into stuff. We are taking something that can be reclaimed various different times several times over. Now, you know, we I'm not a conspiracy theorist, but I've said it in other podcasts. And it's true, up until the snowstorm in Texas, which crippled resin manufacturing for North America, Big Oil, big plastic said, You can't do nothing with recycling. You can't do anything with the resins that are made from that, you know, it's got to be virgin. It's got to be straight from the tap from the oil. And what's happened. Why are people like myself at revive and others like us? Even you know, Ali's, probably propylene committee, why are we being called by say I want to buy your resin pellets, because there's been this big lie, you know, whatever it is. So as we move into the century, and as we move towards the Paris accord date, deadlines and and stuff, I say that if you want to tax a new industry, go ahead and create a new industry create a jobs, because let's face it, I've said it before, and other people, there's gold in the garbage, like there's literally gold, there are people who are going and grabbing computer boards and stuff and melting it down. So they can grab the scraps of palladium or silver or, or precious metals that are in there and polypropylene plastic or polyethylene or any other type of medical grade plastic, it's worth its weight in gold. And that is what I think we're hoping to achieve here. And it's purely accidental. But I think COVID has now leveled the playing field and said, Look, you don't need to wait for a ship to come from some other part of the world 16 weeks to carry fabric or carry medical goods, when you can make it and like Lina says it's a mind shift change, you have to go back to the government and said, Look, guys, the same way that in the United States saved by American and when Canada was made by cutting, then you said you got to buy domestic. And it means by a certain percentage of domestic whoever you give the contract to you give the contract to it goes through a tender process. But let's agree that we don't want to be putting our all our eggs in the same basket again. And then when COVID 32 hits, we're in the same position, right? At least if we build up the industry, and we build up the ability to flex with World pandemic problems. We should be fine. Right? I
I, I think that COVID The tragedy of COVID has created an an acceleration of possible opportunities. I think part of it has always been you just these are met the healthcare industry, just math is a massive industry, people are just simply used to taking whatever they use or walking in and then just throwing it out. When I when I was an EMT. We're constantly restocking those ambulances. And for every incident, there was just a bunch of bandages, and things just get like swept up and thrown out. Because there's just no time. You got to restock go go to the next thing. And no, no one's really tracking the the bills from a user perspective, right. And so it's just like a force of habit in some ways that rethink and go, oh, we need to really put some of this stuff into a specific bin, I wonder and this is where the question comes through, one of the things they would train us in the EMT world was don't take, don't take your hand and put the stuff you're going to throw away in the medical waste pack, don't put your hand in the medical waste bag. Because in the rush of all that you don't know what you just threw in there from the last time or the last person or the last emergency scenario. Maybe there's a sharp maybe there's something of danger. And so you just kind of just perpetuate the further habitual thing of just just throw it out. It doesn't matter. Right? I think we're coming to terms that it actually does matter. And it matters substantially, especially for all all, all of us that are in this world, right like you starting I think people are starting to become aware that it's just LinkedIn this way, like the possibility of this pandemic, continuing with a new variant, or on something else happening. That is, I think, come to mind. I don't know if everybody thinks of it. It's just it's just a once in a lifetime event. That won't happen again, in our lifetimes. I don't I don't think that that's what the science is describing out there. And so from a healthcare perspective from is from instituting policy, we have to we have to adjust but the problem has always been and I'm rambling here but the problem seems to have always been that it's hard to create markets that don't exist. Okay, you can process these palace. This has been done from reclaimed PPE equipment or things but where's the market to sell these pellets to that's like competitively priced or adjusted with the raw stuff that has had 50 years of generating the scale and the the pricing associated with just simply generating that stuff and sending it off.
If I couldn't So I really like that line of thinking because to me what I think what you're saying is that the pandemic, the pandemic really is an opportunity. And and for us, it's an opportunity to do business differently. And businesses healthcare too, right. So at the end of the day, the traditional way that we go about our business, is we, you know, we look at, we look at how do we, you know, how do we make money? How do we, how do we create, you know, markets. And I think the way we approach this was, we have a problem to solve. One is the landfill two is, we want to make it here in Canada, we don't make PPE in Canada, we have to make PPE in Canada, and we have to make the raw material that makes that PPE in Canada. So with those two problems, and addressing business as a problem to be solved, and then doing that collaborative, collaboratively by bringing in all the different types of expertise, like we couldn't have done this by ourselves, and he couldn't done it by himself, and Kurt, who runs our recycling, he can't do it by himself. But together, we're actually able to solve this problem. And I think, to me, that defines business, business should be a solution to a problem. And you know, what, along the way, you make money. And so you create a market and you're making money, but you're approaching it with a different, you know, a different perspective. And now you're doing something that actually makes sense. It's good for the environment. It's good for people because you're creating jobs. And you know, and it's good for Canada, because we're making PPE here in Canada. So I think it's just a different this pandemic gave us that opportunity to redefine business.
Yeah. Lina, since you were the one that led this project, this group to raise the initial capital for it. When you set out to do that, Could you characterize us a little bit of how receptive were your potential, you know, investors that you decided to target for? Like, how, how was that process? Like?
Yeah, well, I think probably like the US Canada was throwing money to the COVID problem, and, you know, apply it, you know, putting out RFPs, and proposals to dole out some capital that would help address the issues that COVID was creating. And so, you know, when we first put together our project, I think it was very well received, you know, from the perspective of funders, and not only did we get money from this one, federal government funded manufacturing, Grant organization, but we also got some engineering support from a place called Bio industrial innovation Canada. So the more we started reaching out to people, and we're still in the process, actually, there's at least three or four other types of funders, both one for our provincial funding, and another one that's related to startups, we're still looking at getting additional funding. And, you know, the story resonates with people because they can sort of follow the thread. And it's understandable a lot of this. A lot of times when, you know, when the funders are looking at putting out, you know, funding to entrepreneurs, sometimes they don't really understand the product. This is really understandable. We understand, like, it's easy to explain to people what it is we're making, and why it's necessary. And it does resonate with people like I think, especially when we talk about masks, and to be honest masks are the hardest things to collect and create volumes in order to recycle, but they're probably the most high profile PPE that's out there because everybody has masks, so they're disposing of all the time. So, you know, it's a high profile item. And at the same time, people it resonates with people because they can say, Yeah, I can't believe we're throwing away all these masks, you know, whether that means in your workplace or at the hospitals or at the grocery store, you know, we're constantly, you know, using masks and throwing them away. So, I think people understand the issue and go on to solve the issue. I think there's a huge interest by you know, by Canadians and globally all around the world, people want to solve the climate change issues, they want to be part of the solution, they don't want to be part of the problem. But every citizen is part of the problem despite the nature of how we operate I
mean you're you're effective leading the setting up of a new supply chain of a new type of supply chain right so it's like they've been in the textile business that you've been in with the other thing that their supply chains and businesses have been set up for for years for decades forever, you know, the things are already established and stabilized. Here you're almost creating something just brand new if you will, a resembles a lot of other things you're not starting from complete scratch but lining up the cost and the financials like the in the potential return. I like I still wonder if that's still the big probably a big challenge, but it sounds like people are more receptive to taking chances from what you're describing Andy, from your side of the business. I mean, you're the VP of Business Development on that side, like who? Who are you selling to? Who are you trying to convince that this is the next, this is a future here to be involved in?
Well, you know, we've been very lucky. We targeted first healthcare, because I was what we call the low hanging fruit, it was very simple, you go to a hospital, you make the sales pitch, you know, there's cost savings for them. So the money came back. curd is very generous guy, he was willing to give donations of up to 2%, back to the hospital based on your year, yearly stuff, we would be tracking all this stuff, so we'd be able to have data, but where we found a lot of traction was actually in retail. Like we found companies like, like, like, I won't mention them fully. But like, you know, companies like a Walmart or a company like like IKEA, you know, who have strong sustainability projects, who said, Hey, we want to be part of this, how do we have a dialogue, and we were continually to dialogue with them. And then finally came back to manufacturing, we said, let's start with the manufacturers of health care. But now, you know, Lina and I were on a phone call, just last week, there's a automotive firm and BC that wanted to be part of it. There's an aviation firm in Quebec, that wanted to be part of this recycling, there's a foodstuffs group in Nova Scotia, Canada that wanted so we've now been very lucky to to hit cross subjects, and find willing partners outside of our traditional business base, which was healthcare.
So and this is, these are the types of partners that might be able to give to the scraps from their manufacturing process, or the Bob be looked at airports, the amount of bottles, water bottles that are generated and discarded there. I mean, like, you're just trying to, instead of them sending them off to an overworked recycling plant, or the landfill you're trying to give them, here's another spot. And by the way, some of this stuff will then get put into Llinas hands so she can create PPE, that that's what we need at this point in time is that that part of that story that you
talked about? It's part of that story. And I said, I'll give a shout out to one of your country's successful recycling. And that's a company called TerraCycle out of New Jersey, and Tom's ASCII, you know, like, I was telling you, my wife, and I was telling friends, I said, I didn't know that I could get 40 Different recycling boxes, you know, anywhere from putting my chip bags, or my pet food bags in there to yogurt containers, really. And so I reached out to them here in Canada said, Look, I really, I really want to collect some of your stuff. And you have a box for masks and for PPE. So why don't we strategically align and we've been working bantering back and forth on that. But like I said, Here, here's a company that their whole essence is Let's help the public help themselves by giving them a box. Now, the question is, and we all know this, right? Do we really recycle at home? Sometimes I'd been a bad boy, sometimes I put stuff in the garbage I admitted. You know, I will be I will be criticized publicly for this eventually, one day, but at the end of the day, the question is, we try our best to recycle. And if we can give you the means to recycle better, I think we can be I think that that's the key here is that we need to get past the apathy and the ignorance that's at the government level, we need to go to a city government say, look, I want you to put polypropylene masks in your blue box. And I want you to stop telling people that it's contaminated. I said, it's contaminated at the point of wearing it. But there's a lot of medical studies that I don't want to debate the medical studies, but flu, colds COVID, after a certain period of time exposed to the atmosphere, it's dead, it's inert. And as an EMT, you know, if I'm going to handle it with a glove and a mask, and I don't rub it on myself, I'm not gonna run a danger of contamination. So the same way that in the hospital, a gown that sits in a back table is thrown out because it was in a in a room that could be contaminated, doesn't mean it was contaminated. So like I said, there's a lot of things here. And then that's one of the things we're trying to propose that when we manufacture goods, when we say that it's the onus is on the manufacturer to help the public right now, it just seems manufacturers just make things it says it's yours, have fun with it, you deal with it, no, come back and say look, we've got a recycling program. Here is here's a box of masks, and a nice eight and a half 11 envelope with a prepaid sticker and ship it back to Andy or me or whoever, and take ownership of your recycling be be sustainable. And you know, own that as a badge and people will buy your product and they'll support your product, because people will have a good feeling about your product.
And the fact that this is a chip have them on the show, but I it's it makes like I'm envisioning. When you go into the dock of the hospital, the emergency room, the emergency er, you bring in the patient you drop them off, you sign a bunch of stuff, you know, the the reports production and then on the way out, you're grabbing you're gonna restock the ambulance right from the hospital. That's kind of how it works in the US. And I'm just thinking you walk by we're gonna get a new mask. For yourself, and right underneath that is the box where you throw out your old mass to swap it, throw it in, and then there's your pre sorted box of mass that generally will be mass for most part, because it's right in that same cycling, how much of that could also be done just outside of the or for your whatever, your gowns, your hats, your shoes, like you could throw it all into that box, that's right next to the box where you get the new stuff. When you're going to do the next surgery, you're going to go in again, for whatever reason, right? Part of it is like a space issue. Part of it is just restocking pulling that but that again, that's just part of figuring out how do we reuse and reapply this stuff? What do you what are your you know, given the your experience in the plastics world, you're partly chemical guy, right? I mean, this is all part chemicals will reconstitute something. What's that marketplace look like? When I look at that picture of your Brantford, Ontario, there's a picture on your website, that machine looks pretty, pretty intense. It's like a there's like a second story to it that you can click on that mistaken, you know, presume this is the start right? What you want is giant facilities of this and all over all over the parks. Right? What's the future look like for you in terms of the near future?
Well, the future is going to be LEED AP because Lita is gonna have a three story. It's gonna be a 40 foot high ceiling facility is going to be it's going to be seen for miles away. No, no, but like, you know, the kind of the concept here is that the technology is there. And And again, we go back to your episode with Allie. And she she said, she said it perfectly, is that the technology is out there is not out there. But the problem is, somebody got it, but nobody knows about it. So this is why I listened to your podcast and say, Okay, I want to connect with that. Yeah, just this morning, I was on. I was on, on LinkedIn. And I saw a CBC News, CBS News piece, about a recycling initiative by a by a lady in Kenya, who was turning plastics into bricks, like there, we are all trying our best to do what we can, right. So like I said, at the end of the day, it's if I could, if I could reach out to your listeners, or to anybody else out there and say, Look, you want to be part of the solution? Do you want to make some money? Do you want to save the environment, call me I'll share with you the secret formula, because essentially, all it is, it's a gigantic shredder that eats 3500 pounds of plastic that turns it into fluff, that fluff gets melted down and turned into pellets. And then there's there are a wide variety of people who are standing in line who want to buy those pellets. And I'm not the chemical that we joke with Kurt, Kurt, we call him our plastic guru Meister, because he's the one who claims that we can add additives to here and there and that and we can make it much stronger. And we don't have to rely on Virgin, you're as much virgin as traditionally thought. So I trust him with the chemistry. And I work out I work out the dream. And Lena now is, like I said, we're looking at you know, this is an Olympic year, we're a marathon relay team, okay, and she's gonna, she's gonna be running the last lap, and we're going to be handing the baton on to her. So we want to make sure that we make good time getting her the baton by the time she starts running, because I think she'll cross the finish line. But it doesn't mean she's right here. So let's have her Yeah. Lena
Lena, what? Yeah, like, I like to kind of talk about a local economy vision, right. So when we, when we talked about this project, and putting all these pieces together, you could almost envision a replication model. So if, for example, we are successful in obtaining contracts for isolation gowns, and PPE locally, within say, a two hour drive of our space here. So we're in southwestern Ontario, which is an in a densely populated part of Ontario and Canada, actually, generally speaking, so it's a great place, there's lots of hospitals in our region within a two hour drive. So if we can actually create this model where we, you know, do the collection from the hospitals, we do the recycling, we make textile, and we make gowns, and then we sell those gowns within a two hour drive here. To me, that's your lowest carbon footprint that you can create. So if you can create these little local economies like this, where you've got yourself sustained a value chain for Southern Ontario, and then we take this and we go to BC, and we do the exact same thing in BC, then we go to Quebec and we do the exact same thing in Quebec and the same thing in Atlantic Canada. Now you've got a low carbon footprint because you're not having trucks driving all across Canada and, you know, and material raw material being brought in by ship. You know, all of if you look at the you know, what we've created, I think as a world is we've got this, we've got transnationals and we've got really focused and narrow markets. Like for example, I saw a picture one time of the flower market flowers and how they're shipped all around the world. Like you know, when you go to your florist and you buy flowers, they're probably made, you know somewhere 1000s of miles away. So there's a, you know, there's a diagram that I saw that shows exactly how flowers and this is a very low cost product, but we don't make them here. So you know, you have to buy your flowers from somewhere else. So I think there has to be a kind of a reversion or swinging of the pendulum from this idea that we can just make things in bulk all around the world and ship it all around the world and just come back to a local economy. So to me, it's about local economies and creating, you know, that opportunity to keep it here. And
I mean, and but you're, you know, we are with two thoughts that come to mind, obviously, that you might be starting with a project that in the grand scheme of things for at the moment, it's not, doesn't move a massive needle, but it started but but these steps, the proof of concept, the fact that you guys actually have the whole value chain created that it's actually happening, and you're able to create the material, that's super important than to prove to other than other localities like it's been done, you just guys have to just put some wherewithal for it, right? But you're so there's like a slow change that could become exponential, as more and more of them start to just take on the projects more and more by themselves. But you're also you're sort of leveraging several aspects are leveraging the location, you're getting closer to the source of the usage of the making of the product of the sourcing the material, the raw material, I mean, that's kind of the goal. So it's some, you know, we're still going to need some raw material being created. But you reduce the need of that over time, if you can get a strong enough cycle that's local. The question is, how do you stimulate that into a little marketplace where everyone's making money along the way? Because that's how this all works? Right? Like? You know, where are you? Where are your thoughts at the stage that you're in with this kind of excitement of the with these partners? Like, where do you think your next stage is? I know, you're looking for the textile processing piece of it. Right? What would be the next one after that for you guys,
we also have a lot of marketing to do to try and convince the buying groups for the hospitals that and we're doing some product development as well. So I mean, the isolation gown is a product that probably hasn't changed for decades, you know, you see, you see an isolation gown is probably exactly the same one, they were 5060 years ago. So we're doing some innovation there as well to create some products that so we've done already some some market research to understand from nurses and doctors and surgeons, you know, how is PPE lacking? What do you you know, what other things do? Do you see us making out of this material? And how can we best protect you when you're, you know, when you're doing the job. So I think product development, you know, making sure that we can do the, you know, the marketing the sales effort to be able to reach our regional hospitals and healthcare institutions, so that we're selling locally as well. Because right now, those are hard to break into right, dandy, this is your territory. So you can maybe speak about the sales side of things a little more, but that's definitely the full that's going full circle, right? Being able to create the sales here, we've got some sales activity and you know, contracts, but they're not necessarily the local ones that we need to have to make this thing really be as effective, effective as it can. Lena
is right like, you know, but I I'm looking at it from a sales point of view, I look at it from a marketing point of view. And I and, you know, it's it's the Field of Dreams paradigm, if you build it, they will come right. So you know, I've said before another podcast that Lena will probably disagree with me. But I said, I don't mind. If somebody puts me out of business. I want him to put me out of business for the right reason that they'll do it better than me, not just because they don't agree with me. But you know, the World Health Organization, even CDC, even Health Canada have outlined that PP manufacturing is going to be at least active for the next two and a half years. We're not finished with flare ups, we're not finished with other situations, and government stockpiles, we'll go through like, you know, we who, who would have thought that you would have gone out and made 25 million gallons, and then find out that that were inferior, and you had to scrap them. Right? And where do those 25 million gowns go? Because if they went back to the manufacturers, did they rip them up and resell them? No, they end up probably landfill. So we I would have loved to have that business say, look, bring it to me. I'll take care of it. But I think we have to transcend beyond that. I think that the issue here is that, you know, and I've said it in other places and whatever it is, you know, in World War Two, we here in Canada in the United States through LendLease supported England with the arsenal of democracy we build planes and ships and guns and whatever for them. Now we have an opportunity to build the Arsenal environmentalism where we have a chance to say okay, guys, look, we will take the stuff that's being not recycled and recycled. We will work with many things. factoring, we will work with governments. You know, in Canada, I don't know if you have any United States, but in Canada, we have it for pop cans, we have a deposit system, you know, five cents again, like we should be going to a deposit system saying, Look, guys, instead of you throwing out your plastic, bring it to us, we'll weigh it like scrap metal, we'll give you money for it. And it's sad to see that our problem is not at the hospital level, it's at the buying group level. But even at the buying group level, the issue here is that supply chain doesn't seem to understand the concept is if you nurture an industry, local, that is there to devote itself to you, you are going to get inherent savings, yes, you're not going to get a mask at four cents like you used to before COVID. Right now, I think the going rate for a mask is 20 cents. And it's never going to go back to that because companies will never allow it to go back to that. So we're in the new normal. But if let's say a hospital said I will invest in a local company. And then that local company will guarantee me that every month they're going to make me 100 boxes of masks. And I'm going to give that to my EMTs I'm going to give that to my long term care my old age homes. And I will I will fill my stockpile with fresh stuff. That's the key here. So what we're trying to do is with like, like Lena Lena would make the fabric, she'll be making the sewing she's got the machinery and the people. Now the point is, let's go to the supply chains. And listen, how much do you really save waiting for a boat to come 16 weeks from China or anywhere else in the world. And then you have to pay duties and taxes and then it has to ship from a port in Vancouver, BC to Toronto, Canada halfway across the country, then you get it and then there's something wrong with it, or you don't have enough of it or whatever, maybe when you can say look, X company will supply me this y company will supply me this and then whatever I need, I'll go into the open market and find the cheapest possible denominator. But at least 10 20% I should supply my own country, my own province miles state by a local community. And you know, it's you know, I what I love about America, when I tell you is you're very proud about buying locally. Like I remember like I grew up in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, and hey, there's Vermont. You they buy Vermont first? Right? Yeah. And for my cheeses, syrups this and then worry about you know, other stuff. So like I said, it's it's, it's it's at our grasp right now, we have the ability, it's just Unfortunately, I've said it before, there's an apathy and ignorance at the government level, and that permeates our supply chain. And what we got to do is we have to somehow educate them and say, Look, stop being like that, start realizing that we have an opportunity because this COVID Open this opportunity, and stand up and be counted and work do what's right, not what's wrong.
I think he I mean, I would add to that narrative that like if if you don't do something about it, right, go that direction, just carry on as business as usual, a you won't connect, you're not going to get the same price as you did before. Because it's like an elastic band, once you stretch it too far, it's real hard to get it really down. But on the other hand, it just just just contemplate where we are today thinking about these issues from where we were not even five years or 10 years ago, right? The pressures coming. Whether you whether you go and admit to it or not, you know, hospital system like it's coming, you're going to have like it not to say that a carbon tax is necessary. But if we don't do enough to make a substantial impact on the direction climate change is going, guess what that carbon tax is going to happen? And if it doesn't happen, then the environment will make it for us right? We'll get more and more catastrophes, more and more issues, more pestilence, more weird diseases. There's all I read an article today, it's just a case, they're keeping an eye on avian flu is making a comeback, right? So it's not going away. If you can look at the totality of what's happening around the world, the pressure, the environmental pressures, applying more of it. No question, right? So where do you want to be five years from now 10 years from now do you want to secure your supply local supply chain marketplace we'll get invested with us work with us? Because the proof of concept here right that's my argument and we'll grow and we'll scale we don't need to supply everything you guys do you but you some some hedging some some supporting of like we can get you know a higher assurance we're going to get this material from you and Lena because we're the ones providing you the raw materials to process and create that circular element and maybe that's our our base line emergency and then the other stuff we buy from whoever has the cheapest product available at the time knowing that that we have history now can disappear overnight. Right? So what do you want to do folks? Like it's like, I wonder if you guys sometimes get a little frustrated with that. A little bit of the Hemi and hi and I know you can't pressure a customer to buy. They buy for their reasons that they're time whenever, but creating, do you feel like? Yeah, let me just say, Do you feel like you have more ammo now to explain why this is the right move? Lina?
Yeah, I mean, I think so I think people nod yes, yes, yes, they want this. And certainly the funders, like we've received, we've been very successful in acquiring government funding to actually create this, you know, where the proof is gonna be in the pudding is whether whether the hospitals actually buy our products at the end of the day. And if they're a little bit more pricey, then, you know, are they willing to pay that extra price? And so that's, I think, what what's yet to be decided, or our government's going to put more pressure on hospitals to buy from us? Or are they going to, you know, make sure that that the government buys from us. So those are the things that I think we're still hoping to see a Canada pull through for us and, you know, be there in the long run, because I think this is just one business, one sector one model, but it really could apply, like when I talk about local economies, there's all kinds of, you know, we call it social procurement. So when we think about I live in a city that has is mostly our biggest employers are our hospitals, and our colleges and our city, and our, what am I, what am I missing, like, education institutions, or universities, there's a lot of money that they spend, and if they could buy local, you know, for even a fraction of what they spend, rather than having money go outside the community, then you can try and keep it all within. So I think our model is just really one of many other models that could be put out there to be able to kind of create a new way or a new vision for how economies function.
Yeah, I think you guys are totally on the right track. And if anything, I would argue you're grabbing market share of a new feature very early, you're just starting, you're hoping, but you certainly have the technology, you certainly have willing participants along the value chain, let's get a buyer to give me a list of hospitals, maybe I can reach out and get somebody on the show. Are you guys gonna do something about this plastic place? Because it's gonna happen, and they're gonna, I think what you realize is they're gonna get pressure from everybody, eventually, the customers, the patients, the, you know, the unions. I mean, it's just out there, it's happening. And the question is, how soon can you move to set up something that's viable enough that that at the end of the day, everybody makes a little bit of cash on it that that the system can run on its own? Right? It's a timing thing,
I just want to highlight a quick 32nd story, because this is germane to what you just say, when I was a medical sales rep, I used to do really well in the booth trade shows were my my jam, like I used to just rock and roll on the booth. And nurses and doctors would come to my booths in various different places. And they were always the proponents, they always wanted to recycle, they always wanted us to show up. And then some of the time, but most of the time at the hospital, but sometime in the trade show, they would bring in a purchasing person with them. And the minute we started talking about the program, the doctor was excited, the nurse was excited. And you saw like this the sheer look of fear and anger from purchasers point of view, like how dare you try to do this and push it and I said, Look, do you understand you will you will make money you will you will get some money back, you will not lose money. You know, like you you will do well with this. And it's it's come to a stunning realization that in Canada, I don't know about the United States. But in Canada, it's almost as if the hospitals want the government to say Listen, go ahead and get into a deficit, get into financial trouble buying Canadian because we're going to support that theory. But the thing is, everyone has been so critical about how my tax dollars are going to pay for health care. And we got to find ways to save money in health care. So what what are the purchasing groups do this? Okay, well, we're saving by buying cheap, foreign crap. You know, the story I used to tell people as pre COVID, right? We used to send all our garbage plastic over the sea now in COVID time, but they're shipping back this cheap plastic back in really crappy PPE. And we're taking it because we don't know any better because we need it right. So at the end of the day, the issue is Look guys, instead of shipping garbage to another part of the world, ship it to Canada ship in the United States, let's work together looking at the benefits of the United States is there's always well not right now because the dollar is actually getting better. But in the old days, you guys used to get a 30% discount buying stuff for myself. Hey, let's have Lena make some fabric. US buys it at 30% discount. Everybody's winning. We're all manufacturing together in a North American supply chain. And we should all hold our hands and say this is a fantastic thing. Unfortunately. You know people like supply chain and buying group they're entrenched. I can't do anything because I got to save money. Well until somebody tells me not to save money. I've got to do what I what I know best and unforeseen. They do it very well. But it hurts us all.
Yeah, I just I just don't think that's going to be sustainable for them in the long haul, eventually the pressures gets too high, and then they have to invest somewhere. And then by the way, things might then get a lot more costlier. Right, because you might have had another hospital already. Hope, hopefully, get all your contracts between the two of you, and you just can't take any more capacity. So sorry, you're gonna have to, you're gonna have to go invest in your own, you know, materials processing plant, and, you know, a group like that lean out front. It's just, it's just, I don't know, it seems to me from an outside perspective, that this is the way the world is headed. So the question is, How soon does your local community want to get there so that they can feel that they're a little bit more secure with their health care supplies? Right. And I do think that COVID has been that less a hard lesson learn I had, if you listen to any of the episodes, Dan, Andy, pick up earlier, pick up the one of Dr. Daniel Brooks episodes that I did. He's an expert in systems and pathogens and his Chilean account. I love having him in there, because he's always a great storyteller, but I always come out feeling extra nervous. But he said that COVID was just a shot across the bow, like get buckled down, get ready for more that's going to be coming down the pike. As climate change really messes up weather patterns and things on a local level. Right. So check out that episode. Those of you guys listening. I appreciate any any final thoughts, Andy any ass out there? There's a lot of people that work in different industries. I know I have several listeners in the Healthcare Association world that listen in, what can we say to them?
Well, I look I always say, first of all, I'm there. So thank you very much, because we need more shout outs to you and people like you who make this happen. Who informed the world with this, the only way we're going to get the message out is to get more and more information out I think, for me and for Lena, I'll let me know speak in just a moment. But for us, please reach out to us you can reach out to me Andy stray spelled on LinkedIn, or on Twitter, you can reach me by info at lifecycle revive.ca I don't give my love my phone because I don't take long distance calls. But I will definitely answer your stuff. And I definitely would invite you to also reach out to Lena because if you're looking to make a difference, and you're looking to work towards that circular economy in your neighborhood, and you are a medical professional you should be looking at people like Lena and I'm gonna let Lena talk now
shirt and just last kind of like pitch I guess is yeah, check out life cycle health.ca. And we will not making textile yet but we'll be making and selling textile at some point. And also we're making and selling isolation gowns and PPE. So we're here. We said we already have some clients in United States and would be happy to take on some more. So thanks for having us in your store. It was great to chat
Lena. Let's do this again. Let's have Andy let's have you both Alina let's get the when you get the final piece in play. Let's let's talk maybe the what do you think your you might have the that part was probably
closer to the end of the year, November December when we're likely going to have it here in Canada. It's it's a long, it's a long lead time to make the piece of equipment as well as getting it here to Canada. So we're probably looking at the end of the year, then let's we'll be in touch.
Let's just be in touch and check in at the beginning of next year and see how you guys are doing right. Want to keep the story going. So thank you all thank you guys for listening. If any of you actually use YouTube, it'd be quick to get a like or two on those videos. Thank you very much everybody. Take care. For more episodes of through the noise go to through the noise.us