I created eqpd because as both an Industrial Designer and human who cares about our planet, I see an unsustainable trend in the creation and perception of manufactured goods. I am concerned with our rapid consumption of products, how well those products are made, how far they travel and our acceptance of what is disposable.
In 1996, I was lucky enough to be awarded a design internship at Patagonia in Ventura, CA. I was 21 years old, studying at the Rhode Island School of Design and deeply curious how a company could both manufacture products like plastic ski clothing and claim to "protect the planet". These things just didn't seem to coincide. But over that summer, followed by 20 summers more - I learned that caring for your planet is much more nuanced than recycling and buying things made out of recycled materials. It is about lessening our consumerism, investing in products that last and using those items as long as possible.
When I started eqpd in 2014, I had no idea what we were going to make - I just knew it had to be built in the USA and be as durable as possible. What problem could eqpd solve? This was before China said NO to our trash, before National Geographic put a single-use bag on its cover, and before grocery stores banned single-use plastic bags. But even then it was obvious that single-use and disposable items are hands-down some of the most damaging products ever made, if not just for the resources used to make and ship them, but the mentality they encourage. We wanted to help solve that problem…... and, the LastBag was born.
Six years later we have sold close to 40,000 LastBags, each one guaranteed life and made in Twisp, WA. LastBags were designed to fulfill our mission: to create everyday products that respect all people and the environment.
Have you ever noticed the recycle icon on our bags? We hijacked it and broke the circle - because it's not the solution. We re-envisioned the recycle symbol, creating a new one that represents a more modern perspective of reduce, reuse, forever.
Do your part to break the cycle. That might mean consuming less and working with what you have. Feel pride in your faded jacket and weathered backpack. How many trucker caps do we need? As I watch the world react to COVID-19, I see a very different reaction from nature. Leatherback turtles returning to beaches, stars visible in the night sky, carbon emissions plummeting . . . what if this was part of the new normal? Less traffic jams and more time with family… “Let My People Go Surfing” (2005) forever influenced how companies view their role in the environmental crisis and how businesses created motivated and thriving “corporate cultures”. I hope we all take a moment to see the tornado we create with our excessive consumerism, and what it’s really adding to our quality of life. I hope businesses reflect on what they are producing and how it’s made - giving customers honest and good solutions shows respect.
So this Earth Day, let’s use the opportunity to reset and re-envision what is possible when we take care of each other by taking care of the Earth. Celebrate what you have and move forward knowing that we are in this together.
- Jonathan Baker, founder of eqpd