Tuesday, September 05, 2006

The Ink Refils Millionaire

Dan White Story


Four years ago, Dan White, a naturalist, decided that he wanted to start a company that helped the environment. He founded Rapid Refill Ink, in Springfield, Ore., which remanufactures and sells inkjet and laser toner cartridges at a 40% to 70% savings to consumers.

"There are 1 billion cartridges in landfills," he says. "We can refill one cartridge over 20 times— that's a huge environmental savings." Today the company has expanded to include 70 stores and an additional 300 franchise contracts nationwide.

In addition to creating an environmentally friendly product, White went even further, making sure the stores themselves were made of repurposed materials. Rapid Refill's walls are made of corn stalks, the marble-looking countertops are made of sunflower seed shells, and the carpets are composed of recycled materials like milk cartons.

"There are so many products generated in our culture," says the Green MBA's Stayton. "Consumers are encouraged to purchase more and more, but what happens to all those products? Without being mindful of the final destination, we are going to end up with a world full of junk. We need companies that are creative and innovative and will take products out of the waste stream and turn them into something new." In doing so, they prove that one man's garbage can be an entrepreneur's goldmine.

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