St. Vincent de Paul of Lane County is a recognized leader in waste-based social enterprises. Extreme Brick-o-Wax is the latest product in their candle wax recycling business.

St. Vincent de Paul of Lane County is a recognized leader in waste-based social enterprises. Extreme Brick-o-Wax is the latest product in their candle wax recycling business.

Courtesy of St. Vincent de Paul

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Need a holiday gift idea for that skateboarder in your life? How about some upcycled skate wax?

Sophia Bennett is Special Projects Manager with St. Vincent de Paul Society of Lane County. She first told me about their new product when I met her during a recent coffee shop office hours we held in Eugene, Ore.

I know you’re thinking, St. Vinnie’s the social service agency has products? In fact, the nonprofit has quite a few products. With nearly a dozen enterprises, they not only divert waste from landfill (in 2012, they diverted over 18 million pounds), they pull in about $18 million, or two-thirds of their annual revenue, from these businesses. And it all goes back into their social service mission.

St. Vinnie's website notes the quadruple bottom line their enterprises address:

  • responsibly reuse and recycle products;
  • provide quality goods and services to the community;
  • provide jobs and job training;
  • generate revenue to fund our charitable activities.
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Candles to be recycled

Courtesy of St. Vincent de Paul.

Extreme Brick-o-Wax is the latest product in their candle wax recycling business.

Bennett says the product was an employee’s idea. “Curtis Bowser, our Assistant Stores Director, saw skate wax in local shops and thought we could produce a high-quality product for less,” Bennett said.

St. Vinnie’s candle wax business began in 2004 and currently recycles over a ton of candle wax each year.

The organization has done so well with its recycling enterprises that they received a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to partner with other nonprofits to help them establish their own waste-based businesses.

I found one other Northwest company who produces skateboard wax from recycled material. Based in Bellfair, Wash., One Ball creates products for various board sports. One Ball produces a variety of snow and surf wax products. Sales manager Bryan Rushforth says their Skate Wax in a Can is made out of their own leftover wax from the other wax products.

Have you gifted any interesting upcycled products this year? Share a story and a photo in the comments.

-- Toni Tabora-Roberts

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