No Plastic, No Problem

Duluth couple’s subscription service delivers 100% recyclable, local products

By Raha Khan
Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Stumbling across a Facebook post about the plastic pollution problem, Paula Polasky began exploring the topic further through websites and blogs.

“It opened my eyes to a problem that people don’t typically talk about,” says Polasky. “It resonated with me. Once you see it, you can’t unsee it.”

Polasky and her fiancé, Dirk Meyer, were inspired to start the subscription service MiNNBOX, bringing a box of locally made and fully recyclable or compostable products directly to homes each month. Even the boxes themselves are 100% recyclable — right down to the packing tape.

Each product featured is from a business that meets MiNNBOX’s standards for environmental concern. The companies also agree to a special green commitment for one month, with a focus on plastic waste. Luckily, Meyer has found that businesses are willing to go above and beyond the basics.
“We’ve had businesses say to us, ‘I already don’t use plastic. I already make my products compostable. But I’m sure there’s something more I could do,’” Meyer relates.

Viewing the green commitment as a challenge is exactly what MiNNBOX hopes for. Polasky and Meyer hope to motivate other local companies and consumers to think green. Local support has been strong for the company, which is run from the couple’s home in Duluth. They’ve also found encouragement internationally through social media, with users from London to Egypt reaching out via Instagram to show their support of the business.

“It’s amazing that people everywhere are responding to our product,” Polasky says. “Especially here in Duluth, where the small business community is strong. The entrepreneurial spirit is alive here.”

Minnesota remains at the center of MiNNBOX’s success. If there’s a state where their message hits people hardest, it’s with Minnesotans who are proud of their clean water and natural landscapes.

“The best part is seeing people get everyday items like honey and loving the quality so much that they replace their typical, generic items with our local ones,” Polasky says. “It makes us feel like we’re doing our part.”