In this week's edition of Sustainable Wednesday's, HOA sat down with Kate Reimann, Founder & CEO of Rogue Wave Toys, an Oahu-based company that makes bio-degradable beach toys. As part of our interview series we'll be meeting with entrepreneurs who are making the world a better place by offering alternatives to plastic. Kate and Rogue Wave Toys are truly inspiring! We hope you'll enjoy this interview, and please don't forget to check out Rogue Wave Toys and follow them on Facebook and Instagram!
What inspired you to create Rogue Wave Toys?
Really, it was a day at the beach with my kids and a rogue wave! I’ve always been concerned about pollution — plastic pollution in particular, and its negative impact on the ocean. And one summer day at the beach, my kids were playing with beach toys that were swept out into the ocean by a wave that no one saw coming. I scrambled to get them all back onshore, and when I did, I had this moment where it all just hit me — here we are, enjoying this interface between land and sea, and using products that are detrimental to its health. I knew right then that I had to make a better product, and that I wanted to make conventional, oil-based plastics obsolete. That’s where it all began.
Can you explain a little bit about the manufacturing process? What are the toys made out of?
Our material and our products are all made in the US — something we’re really proud of! The toys are made out of a proprietary blend of bio-polymers — fossil fuel free! No petroleum means no micro-plastics. Our material cuts carbon emissions by 50-80% in material manufacturing, and our products compost back to soil after a long life of play.
They will compost in active landfills and industrial compost facilities, and no toxins left behind.
I noticed on your website you are making other items out of compostable materials. In addition to toys, what other items are you currently making or looking to make?
Right now our main focus is the toys, but we hope to add in our Punky Aloha Hawaiian marine life sand molds soon (all endangered and native Hawaiian marine life designed by Oahu artist Punky Aloha). Ultimately, we want to use our toys as proof of concept, and show that consumers are willing to pay a little more for a better product made with better material. The long term goal is to get bio-plastics and alternatives to oil-based materials out into the mainstream and raise awareness. When consumers are presented with better choices, they’re going to make better decisions. So we want to be leading that charge.
In addition to new products, what else do you have planned for Rogue Wave Toys?
I want to continue to use Rogue Wave to connect to non-profits and kids who are concerned about the future of the planet — I think it’s important that people know it’s not just a business, this is really a mission. I know there are alternatives to petroleum-based materials and however Rogue Wave can bring those to market, and in whatever form, we want to.
We’ll also be implementing a giveback program, which I’m really excited about, where proceeds from your purchase will support either our local Waimanalo Limu Hui or Mote Marine Laboratory (FL), both of which work on ocean restoration in their own ways. It’s important to me that we don’t just prevent future damage to our oceans, but help repair what’s already been done.
Where would you like to see Rogue Wave in 5 years?
I want Rogue Wave to be a household name synonymous with a new materials economy in five years. If I do it right, we’ll be leading the way for other smaller companies, and convincing larger companies to make the switch to a sustainable materials economy, and to make better decisions about their business practices.
What keeps you motivated?
Taking walks on Kailua Beach (when we were allowed to!) or when I surf at Castles. There’s always so much micro-plastic washed up on our beaches, so tiny that it can be overwhelming. It’s really tough to see every day, but it is what keeps me motivated — we have to clean up our act, for my kids, yes, but for everyone’s kids, for our marine life, for our ocean, and for ourselves. Micro-plastic isn’t just harmful to marine environments, it’s harmful to us. Seeing it daily motivates me to solve this problem right now, especially on the hard days (and there are many of those!).
If there was one thing you want the world to know about you, what is it and why?
I am serious about this mission — I want the world to know that, whatever the iteration of the business, my objective isn’t going to change. We don’t have to settle for a fossil-fuel economy anymore, we have the ability to do better — with our products, with our consumer habits, with our choices — so I want the world to know that I am serious about making alternatives to oil-based plastic the new normal, and making it better!
Thanks again for taking the time to tell us a bit more about Rogue Wave Toys!
We love what you are doing and hope our readers will take a minute to check out and support your amazing, sustainable business!
The world needs more 'green entrepreneurs' and we are excited and proud to know you!