Ian Rosenberger is raising the stakes in Haiti with a company that plans to eliminate waste and create jobs.
The CBS Survivor contestant (Season 10) previously came to the rescue of Tassy Fils-aime, a Haitian man he brought to Pittsburgh for life-saving surgery. Now he has started a for-profit company, Thread LLC
, that plans to build a manufacturing center to turn recyclable waste into thread.
"What I love so much about Thread is we believe in the inherent power of every person. Every one of us is connected," said Rosenberger, reflecting on the company's mission during a FaceTime interview this week from the central plateau of Cange.
"We believe everyone in the whole supply is connected," he says. "These pieces of plastic will change lives."
After the earthquake devastated the country, Rosenberger was moved to take action. Thread will help Haiti by managing its waste stream more profitably, environmentally and economically. (Sound familiar? He's not the first person in Pittsburgh
to seek a solution to Haiti's trash and pollution problem.)
Tread has several partners in the US and Haiti, including international health organization Partners in Health, and is in the process of securing investors to fill their first round of approximately $600,000. Idea Foundry also funded them $50,000.
The waste innovation center will spin recycled plastic into thread to be sold in overseas markets for products like clothing and textiles. The first shipment--$50,000 pounds of Haitian plastic refuse--has already been sold.
The company has five full-time people, two interns and a volunteer and an office in the Beauty Shop in East Liberty. Thread is also sharing workshop space with DeepLocal. Rosenberger counts Manchester Craftsman Guild's Bill Strickland among his supporters.
"So often, companies in this industry manufacture textiles that are neither environmentally or socially friendly," says Rosenberger. "Rather than being at the expense of the Haitian people, this will be to their benefit."
Source: Ian Rosenberger, Threads LLC