13. Vaughn Cassidy on bridging reuse in government and business

Environmental Consultant for TN Dept. of Environment & Conservation

Welcome to The Multi-usiverse. Alongside your guide, Garr Punnett, explore worlds of opportunity within the use of physical resources across companies and organizations. Consider this a field guide in scaling reuse, refurbishment, remanufacturing, and recirculation. We’ll learn from guests who have ventured down this path and carved their way. Our aim is to discuss the successes, opportunities, and challenges of scaling a connected, circular economy. On this episode, we’re joined by Vaughn Cassidy, Environmental Consultant for the Tennessee Department of the Environment and Conservation.

YouTube video

Audio Transcript:

Garr Punnett (00:07)

Hey, everybody. Welcome back to the Multiusiverse podcast. Today’s episode is going to be a knowledge doozy that is to the benefit and to the experience of our guest, Vaughn Cassidy, who is coming to us from the Department of Environment of the State of Tennessee. There’s a lot to learn in this episode, but it mostly comes from anecdotal knowledge and stories of a man who’s been working in the industry thinking about material reuse and thinking through solutions for not only the government side small businesses, but also the industrial side of reuse in Tennessee. We start out talking about a great anecdote that we all might be familiar with, which is the famous YouTube clip of researchers experimenting with a group of players passing a basketball back and forth and a gorilla that passes through the frame. That eight out of ten people don’t notice. What’s important about this is this is all about our biases and what we’re trying to understand around what we see and what we don’t see in the solutions that we’re trying to create or the problems that we’re trying to hurdle and the problems that we’re trying to solve. A lot of great stories are about to come your way.

Garr Punnett (01:16)

Please enjoy and if you have any questions about anything Multiusiverse podcast, please reach out to us at podcast@rheaply.com. Enjoy the episode. Vaughn, thanks so much for joining us today. You cannot come more highly recommended from people that we have in common. I’m so excited to talk to you.

Vaughn Cassidy (01:40)

Wow. It goes down now.

Garr Punnett (01:42)

Exactly. Can you share a little bit more about who you are, what you’ve been doing in Tennessee and some of those good works?

Vaughn Cassidy (01:52)

All right, sure. My name is Vaughn Cassidy. I work for the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation. I work for the Office of Policy and Simple Practices. I’m an environmental consultant, too, because we kind of have ranks on, like, military very long titles. First thing I ever get nervous about is actually introducing myself. My business charges have a fold out with the government. So I started off in air pollution and in air pollution, and that was a regulatory program. And I wasn’t a really good fit for a regulatory program because I wanted to be too helpful. And I’m not saying that that’s a bad thing. I’m not saying that they see it as a bad thing. But you’re there to do the regulatory work and to say you guys are doing these things according to this permit. You’re not there to question things. You’re not there to say, hey, what’s that you say, hey, what’s this? You’re there to do a job and get out of there. Go on to the next one.

Garr Punnett (02:45)


Vaughn Cassidy (02:46)

And I frustrated my managers quite a bit, so much so that they decided, bond, maybe it’d be happier somewhere else.

Garr Punnett (02:53)

Wait, you’re saying that you are doing the classic five year old thing that we all do in sustainability is ask why? Like why is this?

Vaughn Cassidy (03:01)

Yeah, excellent. My grandpa was told me they asked why five times. She the core of the answer. And so I would go into places. And basically the classical analogy is awesome. It even works mostly in person, but it works also on there’s a YouTube channel that shows this to you. There’s two teams of three people, one with white shirts on, one with black shirts on. It bounce basketball, and they ask you to count the number of times it bounced from the white team to the black team. At some point, a dude in a gorilla suit just kind of wanders through the set and five out of eight people don’t see the gorilla. So what I’m essentially doing when I go into these facilities, these guys are there all day long. They’re doing this. They’re doing this job very well. They’re doing it to a specification and they don’t see the gorillas. And I don’t always see a big monster problem. But when you see gorillas, nice, because you get to seem smart, but you just a guy off the street that goes, hey, what’s that? Because you don’t know any better. So when we started doing that, I’ve been doing this for long enough that they didn’t even know what to call it when I first started doing it.

Vaughn Cassidy (04:21)

And they were like, well, what is it that you’re doing? We don’t understand. I’m trying to help these folks do something Besides other stuff away. They’re like, that’s a cool idea. Why don’t you go and do that some a little bit and then go over here and do other stuff we ask we’re paying you to do. Could you do that for us, please? So finally and I’m not saying that that’s good or bad. It’s just the time that we were living in it was very antagonistic. The EPA were the bad guys, and then us, just by definition, we were the bad guys, too. And we would come into places. And if you were helpful, the best compliment I ever got was a couple of guys said that. They said that I made the unpleasant pleasant. And to me, I thought getting fined like 25, $30,000 because I walked in the door and saw something wrong would be something they’d be really worried about.

Garr Punnett (05:25)

It is the fascinating part between businesses and their government where it’s all about that framework. And businesses tend to actually be pretty good with understanding the why. Like if something’s there and they may be made a misstep, that’s all well and fine, as long as it’s not a surprise. Right? Is this where what you’re sort of coming in and doing is sort of piecing together? Hey, this is where you guys need to do maybe things a little bit differently in this way. I got to slap you on the wrist here. You got to actually sort of eat this. Fine. But this is the way that we need to go because this is the new sort of path that might lead to better environmental solutions.

Vaughn Cassidy (06:08)


Garr Punnett (06:09)

And then sort of, where did that leave you again, as you sort of were like, okay, maybe there’s something else I could be doing because I’m the one seeing some of these gorillas. What was the next step there? And how did you get more involved in sort of the environmental aspect in that solution aspect?

Vaughn Cassidy (06:23)

Well, what we did was we started having a supplemental I never can’t say that word very well. Supplemental environmental projects.

Garr Punnett (06:33)


Vaughn Cassidy (06:33)

And we would say, and then I actually got to be a person that said, how about we don’t make that city take $20,000 of their taxpayer dollars and put it in our pockets? I thought we had them. Yes. Make them spend the money, but make them spend it on something that will fix what they did, fix a problem or make them buy some wetlands there and then have them put it in a contract that they will bother it or something like that. So we began to do things like that, and the whole thing just turned around and it got to where I was able to. I kept a little Journal of all these. I kept like a little narrative Journal. I would tell folks about this and about that. And I would get like, Led lights, I’m sorry? Led lights, those little metal haloed lights. There were thousands of those things getting changed out. And I said, why don’t we recycle those? And I look forever to find somebody that would recycle them. When I got that stuff taken care of.

Garr Punnett (07:29)

Describe those lights real quickly for those that don’t know, these are some older lights.

Vaughn Cassidy (07:34)

Describe them well, the big metal hailing lights, you know, they’re there even if you’re blind, because they hung.

Garr Punnett (07:41)

They hung exactly.

Vaughn Cassidy (07:43)

All the time. And you become ear blind, just like you become nose blind. You’re in the facility, you’re like, I don’t hear it. Like, you can’t hear that. Come on. So they were really good lights because the forerunners of all the Led lights, the first ones that they had, they replaced the Halo lights were really dangerous because red and green and blue, you couldn’t distinguish. So if you’re doing something like, I don’t know, working at Mylon Arsenal Army ammunition plant and wiring a bomb, you might want to be able to say that the red wire and the green wire. Right. Because they make cluster bombs. They depleted uranium missiles. Not missiles, but deployment ordinance for the Aten warthog, the plane that hit all the tanks. So they had to be able to see. So they were all against that. This is so dumb. Get this light done here. They kept male hailis until they couldn’t replace them anymore. Oh, wow.

Garr Punnett (08:45)

That’s when the new LEDs came in on this, correct?

Vaughn Cassidy (08:48)

Yeah. The color spectrum was really good. And gosh, those things that man, it’s like I’ve seen those things get changed out to where, if you think about it, I’m essentially lazy. So I thought about gosh that’s way up there, man. These guys got to use the band that changed lights out every once in a while, right? They don’t want to do that, do they? Maybe you get on their good side by putting an Led up there and never changing it again until some guy retired.

Garr Punnett (09:17)

Isn’t that itself almost a great anecdote for sustainability or environmental solutions that we are in the age of actually finding solutions that are not only maybe better performance wise than the solutions, but now actually have these external effects that are also better? How much of that plays into sort of how you talk about the work that you’re doing. Tell me more about sort of how the idea that even just popped into your head.

Vaughn Cassidy (09:48)

Well, the stuff that regulations are in failure, it’s like, oh, Dang, we didn’t mean to do that. Now we got to fix the somehow. So let’s make a regulation that you can only do it so much or only do a little bit or only do it not so much. Only do it here. I only do it there. And then eventually you’ve got the studies in failure, which are trying to find a reuse for things, and it’s really okay, I’m sorry to do this to you. I’m going to tell you a story about Michael Jordan. Somebody asked Michael Jordan one time. They literally asked, what a dumb question. How did you become the greatest basketball player ever? And they thought, this guy laughed it off. He didn’t laugh it off exactly. He knew exactly. He said, I missed 9612 free throws. I was called upon to make the game winning shot 27 times to find a buzzer. And I missed. And he said, if you want to be successful, fail more often. And I’m like, wow, what I need is a boss to give me permission to fail. That’s what I need. So I went to go see this guy that was the stability officer for Walmart, and he was the worldwide stability officer for Walmart.

Vaughn Cassidy (11:10)

And all he talked about was eggs. Eggs for half an hour. You’re talking about eggs for half. What is up 8000 superstars superstitutes across the planet? You talk about eggs? He said, Bond, we waste enough eggs to bury Manhattan every single day. I was like, Whoa, that is amazing. So there’s a thing on YouTube called The Secret Life of Eggs that he was put in charge of. And they did all these crazy things that they were spraying all these bar codes on all the eggs and like, scanning all the eggs, and they were like, you get a broken thing of eggs had like seven good eggs. So I had a guy sitting there going like, well, I’ll put five good eggs, but they had all this unbroken work. It was a big monster mess. So they had to go. They had to sort of fix the problems that they could and just get weaned along as they went along. I actually don’t know how they solve the egg problem.

Garr Punnett (12:08)

I mean, to a large degree. It’s probably a substantial problem that we see just with food waste in general. And that’s really built into the system now of trying to solve that across the board. If anybody who’s listening look up some of the more recent food startups that have sort of popped into the area of one of which based near the closest, when I could think to you, is based in Atlanta, where it’s all about trying to recover as much as possible. I don’t know how much they do with eggs and how much they do with sort of, again, any sort of corporate or enterprise food waste, but the need is there. And it’s been astounding to watch. What I’d love to sort of dive into is you said something maybe two minutes ago about sort of failure in reuse. And I’d love to sort of learn more, too, about that, of how you’ve sort of begun trials and iterations around solutions that you’ve been working on over time. What comes to mind what sort of programs? We’ve had some conversations with you about material reuse. You have a story past in working with Daniel on our team about reuse and material reuse.

Garr Punnett (13:20)

How has that played in sort of the work that you’ve been pursuing over the last couple of years?

Vaughn Cassidy (13:24)

Well, what it takes, I guess, really, is that I Rheaply cannot stand waste. I just hate it. That’s a good impression. Keep me up at night. Exactly. He does. I wish that it didn’t sometimes, but I walk around with my theorists out all the time and you can keep databases and type things in and keep notes all you want. You’re never going to be an expert in everything. You can’t be.



Vaughn Cassidy (13:56)

As a matter of fact, I’ve had a couple of consultants. They said, Vaughn, I’d love to hire you, see what you’re doing, but we’d go broke before you made any money. I mean, it’s a great thing you’re doing, but chew it, man. The study and failure is amazing. So here’s a good example. There’s a thing called a short fiber drum. They’re called short fiber drums because it’s the last roundup of that cardboard. Short fiber cardboard shrinks up. The fibers shrink so they get smaller and smaller so they’re less and less elasticity. Therefore, they’re less and less viable to be recycled. So their last hurrah is as a short fiber drum. And these short fiber drums were being used by this company and that’s myth that you can’t talk about. I can’t use names a lot of times anyway.

Garr Punnett (14:41)


Vaughn Cassidy (14:43)

Do what?

Garr Punnett (14:43)

Don’t use names. Yeah.

Vaughn Cassidy (14:45)

Okay. So the short fiber problem was being used and they were just being wasted because they didn’t have any way to get rid of them because nobody wanted them and I was sitting in this meeting about our pharmaceutical techback program, and they said, well, if we could find a good source of short fiber drums. And I’m like sitting there almost falling asleep, and I’m like, what am I saying? What was that? And so I gave them the phone number. I hooked up these people, and then TBI goes to the facility, goes like three or four of their facilities in Tennessee picks up their short fiber drums and they’re able to collect this unwanted medical waste, and then it gets incinerated. Wow, that’s a one off. But you wish. That’s a great.

Garr Punnett (15:30)

It speaks to, though, that the effort that we’ve both been involved in with making the manual connections like that, less manual and more automatic. And whether that’s through a platform, whether that’s through, again, just broadcasting throughout a community that, hey, there’s a central place where you can bring that request. There’s a central place where you can say, hey, I’ve got this, who knows? And leave it up to some creative individuals, or leave it up to just the demand to take place around a material that’s huge. And I don’t think people sometimes realize how that process works. I’ve been there at the same time where it’s like, wait, I just heard you say that magic word. And this other person said, I need this thing. And when that connection happens, there’s economic savings, there’s environmental savings, there’s an impact generated on sort of a really large scale.

Vaughn Cassidy (16:21)

You know what I never did? I never did it because I was always discouraged from doing it because nobody would like the analogy. It’s like these dating apps.

Garr Punnett (16:31)


Vaughn Cassidy (16:32)

Okay. So I’m not asking personal experience.

Garr Punnett (16:36)

No personal experience.

Vaughn Cassidy (16:39)

I’m happily married, and that’s one of the ones old fashioned way just happened. But we live in an age where if you want to go out with a six foot four Hasidic Jew that loves to surf, but negative, midnight, you get twelve hits at midnight. Oh, yeah. You just enter the information so we can’t get rid of our cardboard. What’s up with this? They gave me the idea, and of course, there’s nothing the old online materials, waste exchanges have been around forever. Very few of them are very successful at all. I can give you the very disheartening statistics. 2% of the people that are on those waste exchanges make even one transaction in two years. So it’s 98% failure across a two year span of time. And that’s with people that really care and really want to get rid of material. It’s the data crunching that we’re in the golden age of right now. Yes, absolute golden age. I knew when I saw that first commercial, it wasn’t that long ago. So the first commercial, that girl there’s a guy goes to the hotel way out west. He says, you guys have any movies? And she goes, all rooms.

Vaughn Cassidy (17:58)

Have every movie ever made in history. Like, Whoa, it’s ready to hear as the stuff now, man, because there’s no way we can’t crunch this information.

Garr Punnett (18:08)

And I think to your point on that, it’s like, how do we figure out what those keys are to unlock the value in that material? Sourcing that material matchmaking. That really for us. Rheaply is always here to have these conversations or Multiusiverse versus always here to have these conversations. I’m not always here to plug Rheaply, but it is for us at Rheaply all about how are we connecting those dots in ways that can allow the network effect to take hold where it’s not just about connecting one source to one piece of demand. It’s about connecting an entire organization that might have multiple sources, multiple material streams, and connecting that into a community. And how can we actually sort of scale that and begin that matchmaking process where then some revenue can be generated? Because if we can crack that code and that’s just not a we thing for Rheaply. That’s a we thing for you, Vaughn. That’s a government side. That is a small business to enterprise side. There’s an entire ecosystem that needs to sort of band together to actually create those matchmaking opportunities.

Vaughn Cassidy (19:17)

Now, take two. The easy stuff is over with, right? It’s over, guys. The cardboard, the plastic, the glass, it’s over with. We got ready made outlets for all that stuff. It’s the weird stuff that is maybe even not necessarily all that valuable. But there’s a company that makes Acrylic dust. Do you know what a Backhouse is?

Garr Punnett (19:47)


Vaughn Cassidy (19:48)

A Backhouse is if you have an operation, it’s cutting something. Cutting metal, cutting plastic, cutting.

Garr Punnett (19:55)

I love industry terms like this. Yeah. Okay, so back house.

Vaughn Cassidy (19:58)

So it sucks the dust off of that. So you not having to breathe it in your body so that you don’t have OSHA all over that. Plus you end up dying at 56 from somewhere because you didn’t know you had it. So it pulls all this dust, all these operations, and it pulls it into this big think of a bunch of cages with socks pulled over them totally. And it sucks it through there and it gets stuck on the sock and the air goes out the top. So they reverse the air every once in a while on a schedule. It won’t pop the socks loose. All that stuff goes off to the bottom. And then you have this. All the properties, all the same size material, and they throw it away, and it’s just like a knife that sticks in my ribs. Don’t throw it away. So we went to a cat litter place that actually isn’t there anymore. It was a very old one called Southern Cat, and they existed in an area where they get all this red clay, and they made cat litter, which, of course, they drive off all the moisture you can then put in the Catholic box, and it will absorb suckle bold moisture so that stuff had fine particles that were falling out called Bentonite.

Vaughn Cassidy (21:24)

And I was like, I heard of that stuff before I drove down the road. It was a farmers co op down the road. Oh, yeah. We buy Bet night from Kansas or somewhere. I said, Dude, do you know down the road? He said, the place that’s gas and it’s all out with all that smoke all the time. I said, probably not that problem.

Garr Punnett (21:48)

Not that we can address that another time.

Vaughn Cassidy (21:49)

Exactly. And what it does, they got this stuff from this. It was perfect. They got it from the bag house, drop out the big hue super sacks. Super sacks. Just a big giant nylon sack. And they unhook it from these machines, these back houses. And they blew it over all these ponds and areas because they had a pigs and cows need a pond or something cool to offer to drink out of, roll around so the water would seep through there because they made this pond. So they put the Bentonite clay. Clay would sink down and make this perfect seal, and it wouldn’t leak anymore. The pond would stay full. Do I get any money? No, thanks, Mr. Government man. I appreciate it. Yeah.

Garr Punnett (22:38)

No finders fee on that one.

Vaughn Cassidy (22:41)

I got one time at an asphalt plant. I did something similar to that. I can’t remember exactly what it was, but the boss was there, and the guy that was the manager of the asphalt plan said, Why don’t you hire Mr. Cassidy? And that guy said, that’s why he’s the boss. He says he works for the government. I got Mr. Vaughn right where I want him.

Garr Punnett (23:01)

That’s excellent. I love the story you just told. What’s the weirdest reuse story that sort of stuck around with you?

Vaughn Cassidy (23:14)

The weirdest reuse story that worked. It didn’t work.

Garr Punnett (23:18)

Oh, I could take either, actually, because the failure over use. I’m so down for it. It’s all about the experimentation.

Vaughn Cassidy (23:28)

They melt glass. You make glass of it, Kalen and a few other things. And you roll these big ball Mills, these big ceramic balls, and it bashes it all up. You run it in this heated furnace. So there’s this molten flow of all this molten glass, and they strain it out through these little stringers, make it into sort of like spaghetti, and they chop it up. And that makes most of your fiberglass. So the runs of this stuff, there’s all this impurities from glass. So they run out, and there’s this beautiful Emerald looking material. So it drops out. It drops in this water bath where it cools off. Well, these guys got permission to capture that stuff in these little skillets Lodge manufacturing, also in Tennessee, by the way, one of the only skillet manufacturers left on the planet.

Garr Punnett (24:19)

They’re the only pan I use. Literally.

Vaughn Cassidy (24:22)


Garr Punnett (24:23)

This is not a plug. They’re the only pan I use. Go ahead.

Vaughn Cassidy (24:26)

That’s a cool story as well. So they have these little skillets and they put them under. They just captured a few of the Goblin dropouts of this molten glass, and it cooled off. And it made this beautiful because it wants to take an economic shape. So it’s perfectly around. So it’s in this little bitty skillet that they bought. And there’s this beautiful green globe now sitting there. They sold those things for. They had a little side business. They sold those things for $8910. About three or four months later, I wasn’t there. They were in the main office room. And the first thing they ever made exploded. Okay. Shot glass everywhere. That was weird. So I didn’t phone calls. Oh, yeah. They sold about a couple of hundred of these things. And what happened was it just took that long for found it cooled down to the very center of it. And for some reason, the molecular structure just exploded most of the paces.

Garr Punnett (25:43)

So that’s a great example of a reuse failure where it’s now learned. Okay, now we have to pay more attention to those molecular properties when we’re creating a reuse opportunity.

Vaughn Cassidy (25:54)

Right. Or maybe like, you know, have some forethought, let it sit around for a while. I don’t know.

Garr Punnett (26:03)

I mean, maybe even cool it instead of just letting. Yeah.

Vaughn Cassidy (26:16)

Anyway, exactly. The best success I’ve had. Best success. And again, I can’t use any names. I can tell the story. Anybody that’s familiar at all knows who it is. But I just can’t tell you the company names. There is all these monitors that we had for years and years and years that had CRTubes have lead in them. They’re leaded glass. So you’re probably way too young. My daughter, we had some TVs that still worked. You turn them off.

Garr Punnett (26:50)

They go just a little bit too young.

Vaughn Cassidy (26:54)

Okay, so those were capital rate dupes. So they’re very hard to dispose of. So a company up in Wisconsin actually found a way to take all these. They must have everyone ever made. They have glass. They got these cathode Ray tubes out of all these computers and TVs, and they could actually delete them. And they’ve been preredisoned. But I told me how they do that. I don’t bother to ask because it’s a patent process, but we tested it and tested it and tested it. So there’s no lead in the glass. It’s amazing how they do let the glass. So they do let the glass on a contract. But the glass kind of laid around. So a tile facility tile manufacturer said, let’s try some of that glass in our ball Mills that we used to use sand for. And yes, sand is pretty cheap, but the glass is cheap, too. The sand is mined out of the ground. It’s better to get the glass. It’s better to have above ground mining. Better than going in the ground. So they drove that stuff. They were driving the stuff from somewhere in Wisconsin all the way to Atlanta, and they were doing it.

Vaughn Cassidy (28:08)

I don’t know how they’re paying for it, no idea, because I didn’t ask. So they’re all that way down there, and there’s a little exit called Exit 24 in the middle, about halfway down to Atlanta in a little city called Clarksville. And they’re like, could you bring that glass to us, just see if we can use it? Well, now it all goes there so they can reuse it. It goes into tile and they make half the trip. They’re saving half their fuel bill, which right now is the people perk up significant.

Garr Punnett (28:41)

I love those stories. I could eat those stories up all day. Because again, it comes down to how are we scaling experimentation? How are we scaling community connections is huge. How are we broadcasting almost to communities outside our normal people? We interact with that. Hey, this is what I’ve got. This is what maybe we could do with this. It’s crowdsourcing that potential a little bit for innovation. And that’s what I love about these stories, really.

Vaughn Cassidy (29:12)

Industry is only a small aspect of it, but even within industry, we’re talking to the wrong people oftentimes. Not that the EHS person or the Environmental health and Safety or some companies. It’s safety, health and Environment the other way because there’s no titles those folks are busy doing. They don’t see the gorillas.

Garr Punnett (29:32)


Vaughn Cassidy (29:33)

Because they’re not paid to see the gorillas. So the guy to talk to is the procurement guy or even the financial officer who would think to talk to the procurement guy about recycling. But he’s the dude that decides what goes in the material. He’s got the actuary that goes, we need to pay this much for plastic, this much for rubber, this much for metal, this much. And they’re the perfect people to talk to.

Garr Punnett (29:58)

Yeah. Well, because again, to look for those gorillas, they’re looking for the gorillas that are going to save money and build margin into the product.

Vaughn Cassidy (30:05)

Right. But the crowdsourcing thing, I think if you look at somewhere like, okay, the Petrol Marketplace platform, that the United States Business Council for Sample Development.

Garr Punnett (30:19)

UC Bcgsd or something. Yeah.

Vaughn Cassidy (30:23)

So those guys did a great thing. And the best example of their crowdsourcing is right there in Austin, Texas.

Garr Punnett (30:31)


Vaughn Cassidy (30:32)

And we’re talking about pickup truck loads of stuff. We’re talking about lockers and bricks, simple stuff. But everyone is involved. So the overall impact is not what it is. In Tennessee, we have like four or five big heavy lifters making our numbers go way up. But the impact, social impact is not that much because the guys that know about all that stuff, I can fit them in this room. No one that knows about it in Austin, Texas, everyone knows about it because they’re all doing this. You got moms and pops and you got food trucks. Everybody doing all this stuff. They’re sharing everything from syrup to bricks to extra brick mortar, extra concrete. It’s far better, in my opinion, even though the impact is not that much. But you get that story out there and get people because culture. What is it saying? Culture trumps strategy every time.

Garr Punnett (31:32)

Yeah. And I think that’s fair. I think it really is sort of how do we hit that used language? But it’s that zeitgeist sort of opportunity where it sort of that viral is actually, I guess now the more proper term that sort of that virality for a story or a mission for that mom and pop to say.

Vaughn Cassidy (31:56)


Garr Punnett (31:59)

I’m trying to think of for all we know, it’s vegetable leftovers or something from their normal operations. And how can I help connect that to the local co op to use in their whatever it is for their soil, their compost? It’s making those connections. But scaling those connections in ways that had never been done before. And instead, again, we’re not matching people to people swiping right or left. We want to swipe that glass left over from that industrial process.

Vaughn Cassidy (32:29)

Why can’t we have a Tinder for this stuff? Exactly.

Garr Punnett (32:31)

That’s what we need. Yeah. I think this is the direction we are heading. And I think I’m excited to work in that capacity for materials. I don’t know how much our branding team will let me proclaim that as the tender for materials, but we’re going to work on something like that because this is what’s going to come down to is how can we make those connections faster? How do we actually build in the information and the data needed so that that finance person, that actuary, that person who’s actually trying to work through the Sciences of the product that they’re making, can know that while this is being reused, it’s still just as good as a component at the sort of commodity level as what they were using before.

Vaughn Cassidy (33:14)

Right. The only big problem and I guess we’re running out of time. No idea. But the only big problem we have is if I’m a guy sitting over here looking at we’re going to do industry, industry like just pipe the price. No middle man like, you throw this stuff away. I want it. Bring it to me. The logistics and all that stuff is a solvable problem. But my big issue is this. If I’m going to risk my ultimate, my end product on your waste material and I’m going to use it as my primary fee stock, what if you get more efficient one of these days? Right. And then I don’t have anything else. Yeah. So I’ve got to have I got diversified my portfolio and up where I can look at all this material, the other thing, and I have no stake away for this. I apologize. I missed it a minute ago.

Garr Punnett (34:05)

No, you’re fine.

Vaughn Cassidy (34:06)

But as far as, like, culture, I’m sorry. Tragedy being trumped by culture, you got to tear it all down to the extremely basic things like a five year old would think, right? Okay. Years ago, people used to not take baths. Who do you know does take a bath other than somebody that’s lives under a bridge somewhere?

Garr Punnett (34:31)

A dog.

Vaughn Cassidy (34:32)

Yeah. Well, okay, your dog. Oh, you got me. But we brush our teeth, we use dental floss, we use deodorant, we take the baths. Well, that wasn’t all that common not that long ago, right? If you go back and make a nice toilet zone episode, but it’d be kind of boring, except for people under like me. Go back 200 years ago. I want to invent, like, laugh right in your face. Come on, take a stick of what’s in it. Aluminum sulcat. No way, dude. Like, doing that.

Garr Punnett (35:16)

Is that where we’re headed? I mean, is that where we’re headed? Where this is going to be such an obvious solution? Where we’re being more efficient as an economy that we’ll get looked back on and be like, wait, you all were throwing how much of this back in the ground? Why were you doing that?

Vaughn Cassidy (35:30)

Just imagine, okay? Just think about this. There’s lots of other things you want to hope for. This isn’t all beyond existence or anything, but think about you going to tell your grandkids, you’re going to walk by them, and you go, you know, we used to throw that stuff away, and the kids going to be like, did you take your medicine today?

Garr Punnett (35:47)

What’s wrong with you?

Vaughn Cassidy (35:48)

Are you serious? No one throws that stuff. This stuff too valuable. Besides that, we got to build. We got to dig a hole and throw it in somehow, somewhere.

Garr Punnett (35:56)

What’s it going to take to make that material more valuable, in your opinion?

Vaughn Cassidy (36:04)

Wow, that material.

Garr Punnett (36:08)

Yeah, that reused material. What’s it going to take for that reused material to be more valuable?

Vaughn Cassidy (36:15)

I don’t think it will be economics for most people. I was in an elevator with a guy that just quit smoking, and I had come up and I said, hey, that’s great. Your lungs are going to heal twice as fast. You’re going to feel better. You got your circulatory system. He goes, no, my wife told me I stink. Seriously. So I think that people are just going to get there’s going to be this inherent thing where they go, they really fill that away. I’m tired of a wheel of the trash can out to the curb, piling up.

Garr Punnett (36:57)

The tide will turn them sort of on that culture. Then the culture will then be pervasive not only at home, but then probably at that corporate level, too, is where we need it.

Vaughn Cassidy (37:07)

Yeah, I think so. I think so. I still want to know why my chips are in this reflective metalized polymer bag.

Garr Punnett (37:16)

Yes, exactly.

Vaughn Cassidy (37:18)

I don’t have a good answer for that.

Garr Punnett (37:20)

Yeah, hopefully. I know there are a couple of companies trying to solve that answer, too. Why are we using that shiny crinkly bag to store these potato chips right well, I look forward to more of these stories more of this problem solving ahead with you, von this was so fun. What sort of ending advice here would you have for young problem solvers out there who are seeing these gorillas and who are trying to get sort of now their headway into maybe changing the world for the better?

Vaughn Cassidy (37:54)

Never stop reading labels and never stop asking why I go to Walmart now. I have fun at Walmart. My wife hates going Walmart with me because I grab a bottle of Walnut oil like a bottle of Walnut oil like this tall it’s like $15. People buy that really what’s in that? How did they get there? Who made the bottle? Who made the bottle cap? Who designed the logo? Where’s all that stuff going?

Garr Punnett (38:25)

Just never stop being curious and never stop asking questions and I love that that will get you to some core problems that can then provide some better solutions for thank you for taking the time I look forward to next time, Vaughn.

Vaughn Cassidy (38:39)

Thank you. Hoping Boris?

Garr Punnett (38:41)

No, sir. Not at all. That was perfect. That’s exactly what we needed. Everyone is going to love it so thank you, sir.

Vaughn Cassidy (38:46)

Talk soon. Thank you very much. Yes, Sir.

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