There was a long, dark era in American business where nobody in a boardroom had any use for morality. Tobacco companies knowingly gave us cancer. Manufacturers didn’t care what kind of waste they pumped into the environment. And, as long as they were making money, food producers were unconcerned about what they put in our bodies.

Those days are thankfully behind us. Today there are for-profit businesses who are not only ethical and socially responsible, but whose very reason for existence is to make the world a better place. The people who founded two of these businesses are Peter Ricchiuti’s guests on this edition of Out to Lunch.

Fran Trautmann, pulverizing glass into sand

Fran Trautmann, pulverizing glass into sand

Fran Trautmann is co-founder and co-director of a company called Glass Half Full. Glass Half Full is a manufacturer. Of sand. Yes, sand. Like at the beach. Sand is the second most consumed natural resource in the world, after water.

To make sand, Glass Half full pulverizes glass bottles. These are the same wine bottles and empty peanut butter jars you normally put in the trash in New Orleans, because the city recycling collectors won’t take them.

Glass Half Full will take all your bottles and jars. They’ve been turning glass into sand since February 2020, and they’re currently recycling over 30,000 pounds of glass a week.

Will McGrew, making films in French

Will McGrew, making films in French

Will McGrew is founder and CEO of a company called Tele-Louisiane. Tele-Louisiane is what’s called a content creator. They make filmed content for commercial clients, non-profits, and government agencies. What distinguishes the films that Tele-Louisiane makes from everybody else’s is, language. Tele-Louisiane’s products are bi-lingual. They’re in English and French.

Tele-Louisiane’s mission is to preserve and promote the French language as it’s spoken in Louisiana. You might think, “Okay, well, that sounds like a worthy cause. Maybe it’s a bit like French Club in high school.” Well, it’s not that.  Since starting up in 2019, Tele-Louisiane has discovered there’s a real demand for French language media in Louisiana. And people are prepared to pay for it.

Will McGrew, Peter Ricchiuti, Fran Trautmann

Will McGrew, Peter Ricchiuti, Fran Trautmann

Photos by Jill Lafleur. Here’s more lunch table conversation about reycling and here’s more info about the Louisiana/France business connection.

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