Why I started Naeco

Why I started Naeco

Naeco is a mission-driven company, passionate about creating high-quality, sustainable products that are good for the environment, good for you, and never have to become waste. 


I was disheartened while scuba diving in Indonesia back in 2015, on a trip I had been dreaming about for years.  In the 'macro capital of the world', I saw plastic and trash strewn all over the ocean floor, on the beaches and on land.  It made me sick - literally.  I cut the diving portion of my trip short and headed inland.  

At the time, I had patented a sanitary improvement to coffee lids and was working on bringing it to market, although I realized that even though I would only be adding a small amount of material, I didn't want to contribute to putting more plastic into the world.  I wanted to help reduce it.  

Coffee lids are one of the worst offenders - a small item that many of us use every day but barely notice.  Yet, when I talked to people about their lids most of them had opinions that they had never really vocalized, or behaviors that they hadn't really acknowledged.  So I studied every lid on the market, talked to thousands of consumers, and worked with product designers to ultimately create a better coffee lid.  A lid that isn't an afterthought but one that actually enhances the experience of drinking coffee.  And most importantly, a lid that is made from a sustainable material (but that actually performs better than existing plastic lids).

I don't understand why coffee shops and cafes would spend so much energy on the product they serve (the coffee) and care enough to buy high-quality coffee, often organic and/or fair trade, and then serve it in a nonrecyclable cup and a petroleum-based plastic lid, which contains toxic chemicals.  It turns out, it's because switching to compostable products used to mean compromising the experience, and it's a little more expensive.   

I wanted to create a solution that shop owners and customers could love.  A solution that people would be happy to support, so good that it would make them happy and that would maybe even get them to think about other daily habits, too.  

Over the past year and a half I have worked full-time on that solution, and I am pleased to be able to finally offer it to the world.  


Ignorance really is bliss.  Which means that it is impossible to unsee or to unlearn things and carry on as you did before.  

* 20,000 plastic bottles are consumed every second around the world

* It is estimated that the ocean will contain more plastic than fish (by mass) by 2050

* In the U.S., we throw out over 60 million coffee lids and cups every day

* Most coffee lids are made from polystyrene (Styrofoam minus the air), which contains styrene, a known carcinogen with other adverse health effects

The more I learned the more I realized that if we don't turn this [plastic] thing around, we are in trouble.  We may not be able to stop it completely but there are things we can do.    


While thinking of a name for the company, I thought about this concept of turning around, or reversing the damage we're doing.  I didn't want to use the omnipotent and sometimes misleading "eco" or "green" names that other companies have adopted, but I did want the name to communicate what we stand for.  Thinking about my love for the ocean, I had an "aha" moment when I turned the word 'ocean' around and it spelled: NAECO.  Yes, "eco" is there but it's much more than that.  It's our way of turning this whole thing around.  Will you join us?