Two Madison neighbors are aiming to change the way people huff and puff when taking the trash out.
University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point alumni Brock Vander Velden and Derek Westrum created the Green-Ease Line-A-Bin, a reusable garbage bin liner that attempts to take the mess out of garbage disposal.
“I lent my pressure washer to a neighbor to clean out his garbage bin and watched as he proceeded to hunch over the bin and curse in frustration the entire time,” said Vander Velden. “I thought there must be a better way.”
This was all it took to spark inspiration. Vander Velden explained that after a long talk on his front porch with his neighbor Westrum, they could picture the product. Then they had to figure out who would create it.
“We went to all sorts of companies,” Vander Velden said. “It was difficult, however, because we could picture what we wanted, but the manufacturers were not creating products exactly as we hoped. One night, I took the durable, lightweight material we wanted to use and sewed up a demo to show to manufacturers.”
After much hard work, the friends became successful business partners, selling the product for $19.99.
“I would definitely buy that type of product,” sophomore Sara Koch said. “I was a green advocate last year, so I like to stay conscious of the environment.”
The alumni said their time at UWSP affected their business today.
“Studying at Stevens Point really helped me learn great time management skills,” Westrum said. “As a business major, I learned what it took to build a good foundation for the future.”
As former players of UWSP’s basketball team, the two explained how their friendships at Stevens Point shaped their business partnership.
“The one thing that stands out to me about Point are the people that make up the campus,” Westrum said. “I gained a business partner and a lifelong friend.”
Vander Velden said the environmentally friendly practices of UWSP had a huge impact on the design of the product.
“As teammates, we had to identify our strengths and work hard,” Vander Velden said. “Going through