Chad Rea used to be protective about his ideas. Now the 37-year-old former agency creative director gladly gives them away, sharing them on ecopop.com, a site dedicated to the exchange of eco-friendly, socially responsible ideas.
"There is no shortage of ideas that end up nowhere but on people's hard drives," says Rea, a copywriter with more than a decade of agency experience. With too many ideas but not enough resources to execute them, Rea does the socially responsible thing. He shares them. "The fact is that I'm putting them out there for somebody else to take. As long as it gets made and contributes to positive change, then that's a good thing," he says.
The site, a blog launched three months ago, is a colorful discussion about pop culture and environmentalism. Its color-coded, categorized posts include subjects such as "Your soaking in it: Don't act green. Be green. Act pop," "Making a business out of waste" and "Less is more. Why single-packaging sucks." Visitors are invited to add to the post with "Got a better idea?"
While there haven't been many reader contributions, Rea, who reports the site has about 1,000 subscribers, is patient and is trying to figure out how to increase participation as he works on the second iteration of the site. "Maybe people are stingy with their ideas just as we once were. Maybe we need to become a nonprofit before people feel more comfortable sharing with us," he considers. "Ecopop is a social experiment, so we're letting the market determine what works and what doesn't."
For now, ecopop.com is also a colorful calling card for ecopop, what Rea characterizes as "an idea factory designed to change the way we make and buy things for the better." The self-described "free-range punk" is working on a variety of projects that fall under that banner, including computer games, TV shows, a fashion accessory line and a Web 2.0 business. One eco-friendly product he made is for Do, a biodegradable water bottle filled with seeds, fertilizer and soil. "A Molotov cocktail of love," he says, that can be filled with water and thrown into urban environments.
Rea also found a way to make functional art out of trash, making a birdhouse out of discarded trade show booths for an art installation for the Audubon Society. "I found that after they build these monstrous trade show booths, they just throw them away," says Rea, who has done consulting work for the Alliance for Climate Protection and Live Earth. "Seems you can create a revenue stream out of that and do something with it before it ends up in a landfill," he says.
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