Two Grand Valley State University students are launching a company selling recycled and sustainable apparel that benefits conservation efforts for the Great Lakes.
The company, Forever Great, is committed to raising awareness of the current environmental crisis facing these bodies of water. Forever Great will donate 8% of its profits to Alliance for the Great Lakes to support the organization in addressing the environmental issues facing these crucial waterways.
Owners Chad Howell and Jack Kleinrichert, Grand Valley honors students and Michigan natives, were concerned with the lack of awareness surrounding the pollution of the Great Lakes by the general public.
“We noticed the imbalance between the severity of the problem and the lack of discussion surrounding it,” Howell said.
“We set out to not only illustrate the problem but also to help solve it,” Kleinrichert added.
Forever Great uses a supplier that produces clothing with 100% recycled materials. Upon launch, the company will feature an active T-shirt that is made from eight post-consumer plastic bottles with sweatshirts to be added soon. These all feature the Forever Great logo and a promise that 8% of the company’s profits will be put back into the lakes through their Give GR8 Initiative. This is all neatly packed and shipped to the customer in 100% post-consumer packaging.
Besides just reusing recycled materials in its products, Forever Great is in the process of arranging beach cleanups for locals to get involved in a hands-on manner. The company also plans to extend this measure to an on-lake plastic clean-up initiative and desires one day to implement recycled Great Lakes plastic directly into its clothing.
Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalynn Bliss has had the opportunity to work with both Howell and Kleinrichert and is excited to support their efforts.
“This is an exciting venture by two local entrepreneurs who are mission-driven and fully appreciate that business can be used as a force for good,” Bliss said.
Forever Great’s overall goal is to raise awareness of the pollution within the Great Lakes, be a part of the solution within the clothing industry and become a voice of change.