March 7, 2022
28. Meet A Woman Who Eliminated Plastic Containers From Her Business
Angie Ringler has developed a unique manufacturing process that eliminates plastic bottles needed for liquid household cleaning and body products. Her company is called Tangie LLC, now doing business as WasteFreeProducts.com, a carbon-neutral business that is plant-based and certified cruelty-free.
Here are some important moments in the podcast:
At 3:23 How should be people be thinking about damage we cause to the environment so it matters to them?
At 8:09 Are you for not using any plastic bottles, or using the ones you have for much longer?
At 9:44 How are your products priced compared to what we buy in the store?
You can reach Angie and buy her products on her website: wastefreeproducts.com
You can download her ebook at: wastefreepledge.com
You can also follow Angie on Instagram:
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Tell Us How to Make It Better is partnering with The Readiness Lab, the home for podcasts webinars and training in the field of emergency and disaster services.Angie Ringler:
And a few years in, I began to wonder where were all the plastic bottles going? You know, here I was filling up these brand new Virgin plastic bottles, sending them out into the world. Where were they going?George Siegal:
I'm George Siegal and this is the Tell Us How to Make It Better podcast. Every week we introduce you to people who are working on real world problems and providing actual solutions. Hi everybody. Thank you so much for joining me on today's Tell Us How to Make It Better. The goal of this podcast is every week to introduce you to somebody who has identified a problem. And rather than just complaining about it is working on a solution towards that problem. And today's issue is something I'm sure you've heard a lot. My guest today is Angie Ringler. She's an eco warrior. She taught herself to discover solutions for her own personal skin issues through her resourcefulness and investigative spirit. She developed a unique manufacturing process, which eliminated plastic bottles needed for liquid household cleaning and body products. In 2010, she founded Tangi LLC. Now doing business as waste free products.com. Her company is a carbon neutral business plant based and certified cruelty free. Angie, thanks for coming on today.Angie Ringler:
Yes. Very good to be here. Thank you for having me.George Siegal:
So what is the problem that you have identified out there in the world that you're working on?Angie Ringler:
Plastic bottle waste really is my catalyst that happened a few years ago. , many years ago, back in 2010, I started the company, as you mentioned, , really based on natural products and a few I'm sorry, natural ingredients, you know, to make natural cleaning products and personal care products. And a few years in, I began to wonder where were all the plastic bottles going? You know, here I was filling up these brand new Virgin plastic bottles, sending them out into the world. Where were they going? And a few years into my business, I began to realize that even though I was using good ingredients, I was using natural ingredients. That, that really wasn't the total solution. If I was still sending these plastic bottles out into the world, I felt like I was still part of the problem to be quite honest, if they were ending up in our landfills or worse off in our oceans and our streams that I needed to really look at, try to find a solution that felt good to me, that allowed me to reduce that kind of plastic waste in my, uh, business. And that if I couldn't find that solution that I probably had to get out of the business.George Siegal:
Now, we all see videos of of beaches with garbage piled up on there, a lot of plastic bottles. And I found this statistic that I thought was interesting of the approximately 275 million metric tons of plastic waste produced annually up to 12 million tons leak into oceans, wreaking havoc on livelihoods and ecosystems and an estimated 13 billion in annual environmental damage to the Marine ecosystem. I mean, it's just staggering to hear the kind of damage that it costs. So how should people understand how this affects their lives? I mean, people go, well, I don't live anywhere near the beach. I don't care about this. W w what should people be thinking about?Angie Ringler:
Well, I think that's a good point, you know, and to me, the, even when I was thinking of something like, well, how do I save the planet? Or when you hear people say that, you know, let's save our environment or the oceans that quite honestly is too big. We are not connected to this whole globe. We are connected, but in a way we don't see how our connection affects the entire world. So to me, I wanted to bring it closer to home. And that to me was about my health, and about my wallet. You know, if we are spending more for packaging or if we're spending more for liquid based products, water based products, that's costing us more in shipping, we're getting a product that's, you know, more diluted that maybe we could be using more of a concentrate, getting a longer use out of it. Ultimately costing us less money. Now, when we look towards more natural ingredients, That's putting less chemical exposure on our skin. And as we know, our skins are just big sponges. So by eliminating those chemicals, It allows us to be more healthy in a lot of ways. They, they have linked a lot of, , chemicals that are produced in our plastics and our food packaging, even in our, , cookware, they are linking those things to some health issues. And I think the more that we're aware of those, those things that are happening to us, they can negatively affect our health, that seeking out options that don't have that base of chemicals or that, you know, makeup of the packaging that it's just doing us a lot better. And then we don't have to think about saving the world. That's just kind of like, what can I do to make these changes in my house for myself.George Siegal:
So, what can you tell us about the product that helps us understand how yours makes a difference? So, I mean, with, without just giving you the ingredients, what is it about it?Angie Ringler:
Do you, do you, you show this, uh, video as well, or is this just audio that you share with your audience?George Siegal:
The video as well? So I can show whatever.Angie Ringler:
Because I did grab a bar of my law. Okay. So this is our laundry concentrate. And for those just listening you this, uh, this bar of hand wash concentrate is no bigger than a deck of playing cards. Okay. So this bar dissolves to make a gallon of liquid hand soap. Now, imagine all the hand soap pumpers that you buy in a month, you know, it might be a foamer or a pumper that you buy off the shelf. Those things are meant to be reused hundreds of times, but yet we typically just throw them away when they're empty and we buy a brand new one from the grocery store, you know, big box store. And that thing just goes in the recycling. We hope it gets recycled but we don't know that it does. So my lawn, this hand wash concentrate here. I just pulled the bar out. Right? It's very clean. It's only got about five ingredients, some nice oils, skin, uh, benefits that are going to be nice to your skin. This one's got citrus essential oils in it to make it smell nice on your hands. But the idea is that you can make that at home. You can take the concentrate, dissolve it at home and keep refilling your hand, pumpers, foamers, whatever you like to use, you can just keep refilling them until that pumper gives out and that could honestly be years down the road.George Siegal:
Sure. So how would you mix that up at home though? I mean like somebody like me, would you just get a big bowl that you cook in or something and you just,Angie Ringler:
it, so it just, so that's a great question because it's dissolves very easily in water. It's , it's not hard, like a bar of soap. It's really like the texture of a thick cream cheese. So it cuts easily with a butter knife. So let's say you just wanted to dissolve a little bit of it. You don't have to dissolve the whole gallon at one time. You could cut the bar in half and you would have 2 64 ounce pieces. You could cut that half and half and just dissolve 32 ounces at a time and you can keep kind of cutting it down. Uh, to make smaller batches. So for me, my hand pumper in my bathroom, it takes easily one 16th of a bar. So I cut this into 16 little pieces, keep the rest in this little box and I just take one piece at a time, drop it in my dispenser, fill that with water and within a few hours of dissolves to make the liquid hand soap.George Siegal:
Interesting. Now this is much different than the paper straw. Okay. That's something that's replaced plastic and there's nothing more annoying for somebody drinking a smoothie or in a restaurant that the paper straw is just the worst to me. You're you're not saying don't ever use plastic again. You're saying don't keep throwing it out. And reuse it.Angie Ringler:
Correct. Reuse these things that are meant to be sturdy and strong and reuse. It's no different. Think about the laundry jug that you have at home. I'm assuming in your laundry room, you've got this really sturdy laundry jug probably got a handle on it, really thick plastic that thing's not going to break down anytime soon, but what if you could refill it with laundry soap endlessly for years at a time. And I do the same thing with the laundry concentrate. So this little bar right here, this makes one gallon of liquid laundry soap, same concept. You've got this small bar, no bigger than a deck of cards, but it's concentrated. All natural ingredients. Like yucca root powder and oils to supotify it into a soap bar. And again, you can cut it into smaller pieces to adapt it to the jar that you want to use at home. We have plenty of people traveling in their RVs right now. They make little eight ounce jars at a time and are able to store the rest away without any storage issues or having to have an, you know, an extra bottle laying around.George Siegal:
Now does that work in all machines? I know that the one we have, I think it's hep or something. There's something on it.Angie Ringler:
Oh, the high efficiency. Yeah. Yeah. It's this, that works really great in the high efficiency units, because it's a very low, no sudsing and that's really what high efficiency units want. They don't want a lot of the bubbles.George Siegal:
How's the price compared to going to Costco and having to pay $30 to get that detergeant?Angie Ringler:
Excellant question because pricing laundry soaps can be a little tricky when you're looking at the price on a shelf. So let's say you go to the grocery store and there's a big aisle of cleaning products and looking at all those laundry soaps right there, and the prices vary from 5 99 to 35 99. And really it's because the bottles are so different inside. Some bottles might be 30 ounces and they might wash 30 loads of laundry. Others might be a gallon, but it might only wash 60 loads of laundry. So you really have to look at what your price per load works out to be. Now we're not the cheapest. We're not going to compete, compete with like the dollar store brands by any means. But we're looking at, for our Tangie laundry, concentrate works out to be about 20 cents a load. So the little bar that I just showed you right here, this is $ 21.99 on our website. And because it only weighs less than four ounces, we can ship it for about four to $5, pretty much anywhere in the United States. So depending on what brand people are using right now, they're probably looking at spending anywhere between 12 cents a load, you know, looking at kind of like that dollar store brand upwards of your tides and stuff. They can be upwards as high as 35 cents a load.George Siegal:
What is the range of products that you have in the store? What, what kind of stuff overall?Angie Ringler:
Well, we do the hand wash concentrate and the laundry concentrate, which are really our cornerstone products because they make the biggest impact. And then we also do stain remover bars. We do shampoo bars, conditioner bars. Shave cream soaps, uh, powdered all purpose cleaner, the idea is we, I wanted to expand the line of products that traditionally had a lot of waste, and it's easy to look at cleaning products and personal care products and see that we have a ton of packaging waste from, from those items.George Siegal:
I'm trying to look w tell me about your background that you could come up with this stuff. Did you just find smart people to invent it or one of those smart people?Angie Ringler:
I guess. Okay. I guess I would say I'm one of those smart people, because I came up with most of the items in the line. , the hand wash, concentrate, the laundry concentrate. Those are actually my formulations that I developed over a course of time. When I first started the business, I did these products as liquid. I bottled them in the plastic bottles that I spoke of earlier, sent them out into the world and that's kind of that crossroad that I came to several years into the business of saying, how do I make this natural liquid product, but sell it without a bottle. And I didn't know how it was going to do that. So I spent a few years reformulating and figuring out how I could turn that liquid into something that could be sold without a bottle. And I eventually was able to reformulate them into this what I call a paste or a concentrate form that is honestly just in a little teeny cardboard box. This can be composted at home. You could drop this into your recycling bin. I mean, tucked into the ground into a flower pot. It's not gonna you know, be around for as long as these normal laundry jugs are.George Siegal:
Now I know with a lot of the healthy food products, I buy living in Florida, shipping it in July is not the same as, as if you're in Maine shipping it. Does the weather affect how this can hold up if you're mailing it around the country in really hot weather?Angie Ringler:
The only one that we have an issue with and kind of that really hot time of the year, July and August is the conditioner. The conditioner bar. The essential oil seemed to kind of seep out and they will show up on the paper packaging. So it doesn't affect the bar, but it would, might reduce the smell a little bit because some of that essential oil has leaked out, but the efficacy of the bar is still there.George Siegal:
Hm. So what do you think the biggest challenges with your business? What do you run into that you would say is a repeating obstacle that you have to overcome?Angie Ringler:
Yeah, definitely packaging because every time I, I think about bringing out a new product, I first have to figure out how am I going to do this in a plastic free package. So one thing that I did start doing several years ago was on my website, offering all of our products package free. So let's say you order our laundry concentrate for the first time you want to order it in the box. It's got all the directions on it. It even comes with a little sticker that you can place on your container to remind you how much to use what's in it. And remind other people in your household that that's not dirty water in that jug, because it is going to look very natural and somebody might not realize it's laundry soap. So the first time you order it, you want to make sure that you get it packaged with the directions. But now that you know how to use it, Same with the shampoo bar. Once you order it once you know how to use it, why do you need the packaging with the instructions? So our repeat customers, they purchase our products package free, comes, wrapped in a little piece of craft paper tucked in a padded paper envelope, and off it goes.George Siegal:
And what about scents, in products, a lot of people don't want to have any kind of scent if they're washing their sheets or their clothes is it fragrance-free?Angie Ringler:
The laundry soap is fragrance-free and we do offer like our shampoo bar and conditioner bar. Uh, we also have fragrance free ones as well, because a lot of people do have multi chemical sensitivities and they can't even take, you know, essential oils.George Siegal:
What would you say is, , a good bit of advice for somebody who has an idea, like you're truly an entrepreneur who's taken something from nothing and turned it into something. There's a lot of people that think they want to do something or want to try something, but they don't ever do anything. They're just sitting on the sidelines, watching everybody else come up with the inventions. What would you tell them to do?Angie Ringler:
Wow. That is a good question because I guess my first knee jerk reaction answer is to say, you've got to have some passion behind it because there's going to be a lot of bumps in that road. There'll be a lot of people telling you, you shouldn't be doing it. You should just go get a nine to five job and, you know, kind of do what the norm has been for a long time. So you've got to have some passion behind it. You know, for me, I'm a red head. I've had skin irritations my whole life. I just have sensitive skin. So when I began to wonder how I could solve my own problem, that's kind of where the laundry soap came from. And I started developing that again, it started as a liquid, but over time, you start to even hone in better of what it is that bothers you about things. And before I. It was the plastic that started bothering me. So if somebody has got an idea and when you listen to most, I just listened to this great audio book called girls that run the world and a journalist went and interviewed 30 top CEOs, all women of how they started on their journey to these, you know, many are multimillion dollar billion dollar industries now that they are in businesses that they've built and not one of them started in like something that they went to school for, or that they were trained for, or it really started with either a solution that they saw needed to be brought to the forefront, or it started with a passion that they've always had their life and they saw an opening for themselves to, you know, start a business. So I think you have to start with something that you believe in and that you're passionate about so that it carries you through the tough times.George Siegal:
Yeah. It's very tough to do something. If you don't get any joy out of it or have any passion behind it that can be, , that, that can be extremely challenging. So you, have you ever gone on Shark Tank? No, I would think they would love this, but then you have to go.Angie Ringler:
They might but I think the introvert in me is like, oh, I don't know. They seem so mean.George Siegal:
Yeah. I would be so into him and I'm not easily intimidated, but they would expose me in like five seconds to go. What are you doing?Angie Ringler:
I would be equally as intimidated.George Siegal:
So I'm going to save them a lot of time. So, uh, tell, tell us about the book. You have a book out. What can people do to get their hands on that?Angie Ringler:
I wrote a book pretty much from my experience of trying to live a more low waste lifestyle of my own. ,The book is called going plastic free room by room. It's an easy way for, to make sustainable swaps. , I got to admit the book was downloaded to me. The entire book was downloaded to my brain during a massage. And I came out of there with such clarity of the content, the layout, the chapters, and what I realized was it was just a culmination of the way that I had been living my life, the ups and downs, too. Right. Of trying to figure out what are the ways that I can reduce my life at home without it being a pain in the ass. Because if things aren't convenient and easy, we don't stick to them. If they're not affordable and workable in our budget, we are not going to keep up with those changes. So a lot of it is me sharing my research that I've made over, like the past 15 years of trying to figure out why I should be reducing chemicals in my life and why it matters, and then sharing that information and then really putting it in a format of going room by room to show different ways that we can reduce our waste. And I even break it down into like beginner, intermediate and somebody who's more seasoned so that you can, if you're just starting in this journey, there's some easy ways to get started. But if you're, if you're somebody like me, who's maybe been doing it for many years, then there are really good. , additional things to think about, maybe that you haven't thought along your journey. And then at the end, I do a checklist to where you can just start to work through the book and start to make those few changes at a time. Hopefully that they become new habits.George Siegal:
Yeah. You know, it's interesting. , I would say, I would think of myself as a person who's not overly environmentally conscious most of the time, but since I've started this podcast, I've had. Experts on that talk about things you can do that make a difference. And a lot of them I already do, I just didn't know about it. And then a lot of the other things are not that difficult to do. So it's encouraging to know that, Hey, even if you just don't take it that serioulsly don't think about it consciously on a day to day basis, you can still step up and make a difference.Angie Ringler:
Yeah, I must say when I first started this business, I didn't realize I was eco. I'm not sure that I, I mean, I heard, heard, heard the term environmentally friendly or eco-friendly, but I didn't think of myself as eco. I actually would consider myself more of a hippie than an eco person. So I think it was along the line along that journey that I realized, oh, I guess I am living a little bit eco but not really giving myself credit for the, because it just, it was maybe things that just felt right to me or seem to be the right thing to do that I was doing, not really putting a label on it. So I think a lot of people would, would be like you and be shocked that alot of things they are doing are already in alignment with reducing their waste. And maybe just a few little tweaks here and there, it could make even a bigger impact to save themselves some money. And maybe even it reduced their exposure to some toxic chemicals.George Siegal:
Absolutely. It's gotten me a lot more on board than I, than I was. And I think it's great that you're, that you're doing this now. How can people reach you and how do they find you on social media or your website? What's the best way is to get in touch?Angie Ringler:
So we are on social media at waste free products, and the website is waste free products.com. They can go there and read a lot of blog articles that I wrote. , find out more information about the individual products that we have, and they can also download the book for free it's on the website, but it also started another website where I've posted the book and it's just waste free pledge.com. So if they go to waste free pledge.com, they can download the ebook, it's over a hundred pages. So it's a fairly decent read. , but then at the very end, I do provide links to a lot of the products that I share as sustainable swaps and, , links to the companies that I think are really out there trying to make a difference that I want people to start looking into. You know, utilizing those kinds of companies and also sharing that information with other people that they know, because there are great people out there really working hard to make a difference. We just need to share their information so that more people are aware of them.George Siegal:
Well, it sounds great. I'm going to definitely check out the website and you'll probably see an order coming in from me soon. Thanks so much. Yeah. So Angie, thanks so much for coming on today and continued success with the products.Angie Ringler:
Thank you. I really appreciate it. And I enjoyed being on your show today.George Siegal:
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