Taylor McCarten: Founder of BinBreeze – Ep. 121

Jacob Pechenik: A Non-Toxic Way to Compost Indoors & Dragon’s Den Success Story

Taylor McCarten is the Co-Founder & CEO of BinBreeze, a Dragon’s Den success story start-up. 

The idea is this: BinBreeze is the world’s first all-natural and non-toxic indoor composting powder that is on a mission to reduce the impact of food waste. Their innovative and sustainable product reduces wood waste that’s currently burned for lack of a better alternative while improving customer composting abilities at home. 

It’s a win-win that’s now in over 500 retailers in Canada. Today we talk about what it takes to get funding for your eco business and much more. 

Full Unedited Audio Conversation:

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Burning Wood Is More Harmful Than We Realise
*1:23 – “My father was a carpenter and his father was a carpenter. And I grew up spending my summers as a child labourer sweeping wood dust. And that was the norm, I was always on the job sites sweeping up. And we always burned that material at my grandfather’s house. And I never thought about any sort of climate impact to burning wood but as it turns out – and your viewers can fact-check me on this – when you burn wood, you actually almost double its weight in CO2. So a kilogram of wood almost becomes two kilograms of CO2 in the atmosphere. And so while burning wood for energy or for heat or for s’mores is a beautiful thing that everyone should continue doing, burning wood for disposal is a waste. And as it turns out, North America burns millions of tons of wood waste every year purely for disposal just to get rid of it from where it is because it’s cheaper to burn where it is than it is to transport anywhere.”

Instantly Eliminate Compost Odors And Emissions
*3:11 – “There’s just a ton of waste in the system. And more importantly, there’s actually a great use for that wood. I’m sure I could come up for a use for it. And so exploring that idea, I ended up meeting a professor of chemistry at the University of Victoria. And together we teamed up and realised that we could actually use a majority wood-waste mix in a powder that would deodorize food waste and garbage and effectively eliminate insects from being able to infect it, but in a way that was extremely organic and beneficial to composting facilities and people who are going to make soil out of that so it’s not a toxic, pesticide-ridden way. And then as it turns out, I took that to the farmers markets in Victoria thinking I’d sell it in jars as kind of like a fun summer project. And people loved it so much now we’re in 500 retailers across the country and we’re doing pilots with waste management to basically streamline the entire organics system by having a model where we balance the chemistry of the food waste where it is before transportation. And so right now, people’s food waste, it rots. But the truth is, food waste shouldn’t be rotting and digesting. It should be decomposing. And if it stinks, it’s actually digesting, which is gross.”

11:03 – “While we’re talking about the beaten path – I mean, I graduated from my MBA with student debt, I still have it, and the company is growing and I’m really happy. And, I get to pay myself. And, my definition of success was financial security found in meaningful work. And I created that for myself. And I’m proud of that. But nevertheless, what most of my peers did and what most young people do when they graduate school is get a job because they got a massive amount of debt and no one thinks about, well, how is this destroying innovation in America or in Canada when suddenly all of our youthful energy is already going to work for the banks or the government via student loans? And those people have actually restricted their choices. They’re not making the same decisions. They’re not willing to take risks because why would they, if something bad happens or if the company fails, then they’re truly, truly effed.”

12:05 – (Ross) “It’s scary and it’s terrifying and it’s serious. And being confronted with that situation is no joke, especially in a place like here where there’s no social safety net, where you can go all the way to the floor and you can keep going below that. There’s this famous public speaker named Jim Rohn, motivational speaker of the 1970s, and he used to say that rock bottom was zero. But he said in the modern era, you can just go sailing right on by that. You can whistle right on by zero and get way in the hole.”

12:34 – (Ross) “You’re 21 years old. You graduate, you’ve got mountains of debt that is going to affect your life perception and the workplace in general is extremely tough. That’s one of the core principles of this show. And why I created it in the beginning is because we need different ideas. We need better ideas about what we can do, and we need to kind of show people, you and I, that you can take a risk and you can do something good for the environment. These are two things that seem to a lot of folks like luxuries. They are things that somebody else who is privileged can do but I can’t do that because I just got to pay my bills. I’m just worried about getting food. These are all valid concerns. But at the same time, if nobody makes these kinds of decisions, like you said, if all of the decisions are safe, if all of them go into jobs, if nobody focuses on the bigger-picture problems that we need to as a species, that’s just real bad for us in general.”

17:36 – (Ross) “I like the way you phrased it because it’s important to acknowledge that we’re all hypocrites, that we all exude carbon, we all do all of these things in our daily life. But attempting to reconcile those things and find the best course of action is still better than doing nothing. So maybe our actions are imperfect, and maybe your first idea isn’t the best idea, but you’re trying and you’re learning and you’re saying, ‘Where is this not working?’ And if there’s one thing that I wish people would do, it would just be to try. But we get so hung up on perfect or imperfect. And that’s the kind of beef that I’ve always had with the vegan communities or vegan subset, even though I was vegan for many years and now I’m not 100% vegan anymore. They hate a guy like me who eats 95% vegan food because it’s like, ‘Having meat one day a week is like saying it’s okay to rape people one day a week. It’s okay to murder people one day a week.’ They’re 100% or zero. You’re either 100% on board or you suck. And I’ve always felt like, ‘Come on, guys, let’s pump the brake. Let’s try.’”

The Secret To Being Successful On Dragons’ Den
*23:55 – “In the case of Dragons’ Den, and that’s not just going in and being myself and pitching, it’s how can I put myself forward? You know, what I did is I watched every episode of the show because that’s what you should do. And then every time someone got a deal on the show, I put myself forward and I tried to call them on the phone, like, right then. And through that process, I met dozens of founders who had been on the show and gotten deals because I only called dealmakers. Sorry, guys. And I learned a lot that I probably was well equipped to go into the show with that other people didn’t have. I was also able to be even more vulnerable through that because I knew all these kind of background secrets that I can’t share publicly.”

Smart Entrepreneurs Can Make Money via Sustainability
*38:47 – “The world is moving towards a sustainable future because we actually do not have a scientific choice. And so you can be a part of that as a capitalist, you can be a part of that as an entrepreneur and drive that change. Or you can sit back and watch and complain while the world changes around you and it’s still going to change. You can’t stop it. I’m sorry. Time goes on and we learn as a species when asbestos is bad for us and when oil pollutes the atmosphere, we learn as a species that we’re not always right and we’re failing forward. But we have to keep learning and we have to keep going. We can’t just say, ‘No, I want nothing to change anymore.’”

44:50 – “A lot of the time what I’m hearing from people is, ‘Oh, we talked to you last year. You were trying to raise capital, but you’re still here. How is that possible?’ And it’s because they’re used to people coming out and pitching ideas. And if they don’t raise any money, the idea is gone and they go off to a new idea and new business. What longevity is there in that? So from an investor perspective, the fact that I’m still here, that my company is alive and actually doing business and selling something and creating money and has staff and momentum and things like that, that’s been a huge difference maker.”

45:55 – “This is my favorite bit from Chris Rock. He does a stand up bit and somewhere in this he says this story and he says, if your car breaks down on the side of the road and you stick out your thumb leaning against your trunk, no one will stop for you. But if you put the car in neutral and you start pushing it, people will pull over and start pushing with you. And I know it’s Chris Rock so you’re like, wow, where did that come from? But truly, nothing has helped me more than the fact that I am actually going out and continuing to do this no matter what, even if no one does help me, I’m just going to still do it and people will because, I’m doing that. But if I go in it with: ‘I need you to help me, otherwise I can’t do this,’ no one wants to do that because they don’t think that even if they do help, you will succeed.”

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