Solar-Powered Car Delivers Zero Waste Wholesale To Zero Waste Retail Store: The Future Is Now

July 17th, 2020 by Scott Cooney[1] 

I may be the world’s biggest fan of Zachary Shahan. (His wife and kids may argue…). When Zach first gave a talk entitled “The Future is Now,” it sort of became the ad-hoc tagline for CleanTechnica. And it’s true — all the solutions we need are right here, right in front of us.

For my team, it seems normal — our company makes zero-waste personal care and cleaning products using the milkman model (buying the containers back to clean and refill them). I drive a Tesla (of course I do — I am a CleanTechnica junkie after all). And I have solar PV on my roof that powers said Tesla. So, when a zero waste retail (yes, brick and mortar) store held its grand opening earlier this month, it was only logical that we would deliver the first order of our wholesale products on opening day with a Tesla driven on sunshine.

Lori Mallini (second from left), owner of Protea, a zero waste retail store in Kailua.

The Future is Now

I’ve been listening to “Drilled,” a podcast by Amy Westerveld, in which she chronicles the corrupt (and anti-human for lack of a better way to describe them) tactics of the fossil industries, which seem hellbent on sending us to hell. If you haven’t listened yet, it’s an amazing series, and I’d highly encourage it, but if you don’t have time or inclination, I’ll sum up — the fossil industry has given up on any pretense of civility. Their gloves came off long ago and it’s clear that they (for now, at least) will stop at nothing short of our world turning into a Mad Max dystopia rather than admitting they were wrong.

If you read CleanTechnica often (ahem, subscribe here if not[2]!), you know that the fossil world is not somewhere you’d want to invest your money. A huge wind power win this week coupled with three fossil pipeline losses[3] combine with headwinds from a world that simply isn’t burning oil or coal[4] the way it used to, and closing coal plants[5] at a rapid pace, often as much as 16 years ahead of schedule[6]. COVID is also providing headwinds[7] for the fossil industry. Clean energy is simply cheaper and sexier, and prospects for the 2020 election look likely to end fossil corruption’s tight grip on Washington. Here in Hawaii, our state legislature passed a law last week that should ensure we close our last coal powered plant[8] in 2 years.

The punches just keep coming, and while the game ain’t over, they are starting to queue the credits.

But what about plastic?

Ah — the foil. As COVID spreads like wildfire, especially in places that moved to reopen too early under pressure from the dumb-dumb in chief, rest assured big oil has a plan. Here in Hawaii, where we passed a truly groundbreaking single-use plastic ban last year[9], lobbyists are hard at work trying to overturn it based on the pandemic, arguing that it will be necessary to prevent the spread of disease.

Many of the fossil industry’s big players (Saudi Aramco, Exxon, Eastman Chemical …) have publicly stated their intention to make up for lost revenue on fuels by creating a whole lot more virgin plastic. You do know that plastic is made from oil and other fossils, right? So selling more plastic is a way to recoup more of the losses of an industry in decline and rescue their stranded assets for a few more years.

Screw that. It’s time to ramp up the pressure and kick plastic to the curb in every way we can, and demonstrating it by showing we can make zero waste products[10], sell them, and distribute them without fossils. The future … it’s now


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Tags: Hawaii, pipelines, plastic, plastics, Protea, Waste Reduction, zero-waste

About the Author

Scott Cooney[18] Scott Cooney (twitter: scottcooney[19]) is a serial eco-entrepreneur hellbent on making the world a better place for all its residents. After starting and selling two mission driven companies, Scott started a third and lost his shirt. After that, he bought a new shirt at Goodwill and started this media company and once it was making enough, he was just smart enough to hire someone smarter than him[20] to run it. He then started Pono Home, a service that greens homes, which has, by the end of 2019, performed efficiency retrofits on more than 13,000 homes and small businesses, saving customers more than $3.3 million a year on their utilities. Because he’s sadistic, he then started a zero waste, organic, locally made personal care line[21]. Scott’s also addicted to producing stuff and teaching people–he was an adjunct professor of Sustainability in the MBA program at the University of Hawai’i, green business startup coach[22], author of Build a Green Small Business: Profitable Ways to Become an Ecopreneur[23] (McGraw-Hill), and Green Living Ideas[24], and developer of the sustainability board game GBO Hawai’i[25].


  1. ^ Scott Cooney (
  2. ^ subscribe here if not (
  3. ^ huge wind power win this week coupled with three fossil pipeline losses (
  4. ^ coal (
  5. ^ closing coal plants (
  6. ^ 16 years ahead of schedule (
  7. ^ headwinds (
  8. ^ close our last coal powered plant (
  9. ^ groundbreaking single-use plastic ban last year (
  10. ^ zero waste products (
  11. ^ Hawaii (
  12. ^ pipelines (
  13. ^ plastic (
  14. ^ plastics (
  15. ^ Protea (
  16. ^ Waste Reduction (
  17. ^ zero-waste (
  18. ^ Posts by Scott Cooney (
  19. ^ twitter: scottcooney (
  20. ^ someone smarter than him (
  21. ^ zero waste, organic, locally made personal care line (
  22. ^ green business startup coach (
  23. ^ Build a Green Small Business: Profitable Ways to Become an Ecopreneur (
  24. ^ Green Living Ideas (
  25. ^ sustainability board game GBO Hawai’i (

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