#214: Heather Itzla

Waste-less School Supplies: Wisdom Supply Co.’s Mission to Reduce Plastic Waste, An Interview with Founder, Heather Itzla

Unless you have school-age children, you may not realize that we’ve just come through the second biggest shopping season of the year. According to Deloitte’s July 2019 Back-to-School Survey, US shoppers will have spent $27.8 billion, or $519 per student, on everything from clothing to calculators. Of that, $6.1 billion will have gone to purchasing school supplies.

Heather Itzla reads that last figure and thinks plastic waste. Realizing how back-to-school shopping encourages the rote purchase of disposable plastics, Itzla and partner Nicole Kozlowski founded Wisdom Supply Co. to provide affordable, zero-waste alternatives to most school supplies.

The company’s paper-covered binders are 100% recyclable. Its refillable dry erase markers feature aluminum barrels and replaceable nibs. Its highlighters are made of wood and wax. Plus, Wisdom Supply Co. has been a B Corp since its 2017 launch.

Impact Report producer Katie Ellman spoke with Itzla about the company’s origin story, how it designs its products, and why affordability is a key component of its mission.

The Impact Report brings together students and faculty in Bard’s MBA in Sustainability program with leaders in business, sustainability and social entrepreneurship.



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