Tapping the Prison Market

Tapping the Prison Market

When Cross launched EcoTensil, in 2010, her goal was to make the experience of eating yogurt and other single-serve food items a little greener. The company’s first product, SpoonLidz, is what it sounds like—a container lid made of coated paperboard that, with a strategic fold, turns into an eco-friendly spoon. Cross was having a prototype made at a print shop in Sacramento when an employee of nearby Folsom State Prison came in and mentioned he was looking for utensils to be used by dangerous inmates. When the printer showed him Cross’s product, he knew it was just what he needed. Paperboard, after all, is not just a green alternative to plastic; it’s also a safer one, because it can’t be turned into a weapon.

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