Earlier this year, one such second purpose came in the form of Clever Octopus, a nonprofit creative reuse center in South Salt Lake, Utah. In February 2021, ChicoBag shipped over 2000 misprint or retired bags and masks to the Clever Octopus team.
“This collaboration provides us an opportunity to work with our community on how they transport items. We will expand this collaboration to include additional nonprofit organizations throughout our community,” said Jen Lopez, program director and co-founder.
Once they’re sorted and organized, Clever Octopus will distribute the bags and masks for use in their distribution center, across low-income families, local schools, refugee facilities, homeless shelters, and other organizations and people in need throughout the community.
As a 501(c)3 nonprofit, Clever Octopus fosters creativity and environmental awareness through art, science, technology, engineering, and math. Their “multi-tentacled” 🐙 approach includes the the Octopus mobile outreach vehicle and the Clever Octopus Creative Reuse Center, a retail space with discounted art supplies for educators, teachers, nonprofits, artists, youth, and community member. The goal is a financially accessible, safe and inviting space to create as well as learn new skills, support, and encourage--all with repurposed materials, including the “shopping bags” used to bag items after a purchase in their thrift store.
“One of our goals when starting this space,” said Jen, “was to ever going to buy bags from the store.” Everything they sell, reuse and take in is reclaimed, sourced from forgotten closets, giveaway piles, or donated from companies with excess product. Sturdy bags in particular were an immense need for those traveling on public transportation.
ChicoBag had donated and misprinted bags to pay forward and keep out of the landfill; Clever Octopus needed bags.
It was a match made in sustainable heaven.
For Megan, who runs ChicoBag’s Zero Waste Program, Clever Octopus was an ideal partner. “We love and appreciate supporting businesses and nonprofits that are the ‘boots on the ground’ for their local community and are a leader in driving sustainability within their local networks,” she said. “This creates a ripple effect in creating sustainable habits, conversations, and conscious lifestyles for everyone.”