Lots of people have interesting ideas, said Morgan Wyatt, but entrepreneurs are those individuals who act on them.
Wyatt, 30, and his brother, Jackson, 26, both Innis College Honours BSc graduates and avid recyclers took on the challenge of improving the recycling of organic waste. Like many people, they were frustrated with leaky, smelly green bins, so they created Greenlid, a company that produces a compostable, leakproof countertop compost bin that absorbs odour and can be tossed directly into a green bin outdoors or into a compost pile.
“Everyone wants to be more environmentally conscious,” Jackson said. “We wanted to make it as easy as possible to make a good choice.”
Their company draws on each man’s respective talents. Morgan earned a PhD in chemical biology and Jackson went on from U of T to study industrial design. They have created an attractive product using end-of-life recycled Canadian cardboard that combats odours and a special chemical additive, created by Morgan, to prevent leaking while also remaining compostable.
The brothers started Greenlid, which is produced entirely in Canada with Canadian materials, with a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign; they then took their product to Dragons’ Den, the CBC-TV show that showcases pitches made to investors by entrepreneurs. Two of the Dragons, David Chilton and Arlene Dickinson, immediately decided to invest and are partnering with the Wyatts.
“Success on Dragon’s Den meant our idea had further value,” Morgan said. “We knew we could act differently because we had a little more money and we could think bigger about going after major retailers.
Greenlid produced its one millionth unit during the summer of 2015 and the product is in about 3,000 stores nationwide, including Canadian Tire, Home Depot, Home Hardware, RONA and Sobey’s, and the tally is still growing.
Both brothers credit their University of Toronto experiences for opening their eyes to new possibilities.
“At U of T, you get a broad spectrum of courses and make friends in all fields,” Morgan said. “It keeps you open-minded.”
Jackson was planning to follow his father’s path to medical school, but the registrar at Innis College took note of his interest in building furniture and suggested he take more design courses, which ultimately led him to industrial design.
“The suggestion to expand my horizons was huge for me,” Jackson said. “When you come from a small town, there are only a few avenues to success. This opens your eyes to think that you can find something perfect for you.”